Tiwa Savage’s Fans Launch Online Campaign For Award Votes

Tiwa Savage’s fans have launched an online campaign for her to win every single award she has been nominated for before the close of the year.

The hashtag #VoteTiwaSavage was a trending topic for most part of Wednesday.

The ‘My Darling’ hit maker is nominated in six different categories for the African Muzik Magazine Awards (AFRIMMA) holding in Dallas, Texas on October 15.

They are Artiste of the Year, Best Female West Africa, Best African Collaboration, Song of the Year, AFRIMMA Video of the Year and Best Artiste in African Contemporary.

Tiwa is also up for winning the Best Female Award and Video of The Year at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMA) in Johannesburg, South Africa on October 22.

The mother-of-one is nominated for the Best African Act at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO) Awards in Glasgow, Scotland on November 4.

Given the formidable opposition she is up against, her fans have mounted a vigorous campaign for her.

Some of the tweets soliciting for votes are:

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Atiku Explains Absence At Buhari’s Biography Book Launch

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has explained his absence at the book launch of President Muhammadu Buhari’s authorised biography, ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’ on Monday in Abuja.

A statement by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, the former vice president was absent at the book presentation because he got the invitation late.

Ibe claimed that the former Vice-President only received the invitation on Monday after the event had started.

He, however, admitted that the invitation dated September 30 was received in Abubakar’s office on Saturday.

He said, “For inexplicable reason, the former Vice President only received his invitation today (Monday) after the event had started.

“It is on record that the invitation for the Turakin Adamawa was delivered to the Atiku Centre on October 1, 40 hours before the event of today, and only after the former Vice President had travelled to Gombe to honour the invitation for the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the creation of creation of the State.

“The former Vice-President returned to Abuja on Sunday night, October 2.

“The invitation letter signed September 30, 2016, the last working day of the week was handed over to Atiku Abubakar today (Monday), after the programme had commenced.

“As a former Vice-President well-schooled in the demands of protocol, it would have been inappropriate of the Turakin Adamawa to storm into the event while Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-chief was already seated with other dignitaries including visiting Heads of Government to the occasion.”

 

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Facebook Partners Coollink To Launch Express WiFi In Lagos

According to this report, Facebook is partnering Coollink, a Lagos based Internet Service Provider (ISP), to launch Express WiFi in Lagos.

Express WiFi is a Facebook initiative to bring Internet connectivity to underserved locations around the world.

It does this through partnership with local entrepreneurs to help provide quality Internet access to their neighbours and make a steady income.

Working with local Internet service providers or mobile operators, these entrepreneurs are able to use software provided by Facebook to connect their communities.

Express WiFi in Lagos will enable users surf websites on Free basics for free. However, they’ll have to pay for more browsing activity.

For as little as ?40, they can get up to 100MB daily, or ?1,600 for a 5GB monthly plan for extra surfing on a 10Mbps connection which is shared across all the users.

Other data plans include ?110 for 300MB for 24hrs; ?270 for 750MB for a week, ?700 for 2GB for 7 days, and ?1000 for 3GB for a month.

The service is expected to launch in some parts of Lagos, such as Ikota Shopping Complex, some time this week. Users can sign up for a 14 days free trial and enjoy free Internet for that perios – up to 100MB per day.

Express WiFi was first launched in India. It is part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative, which will bring Internet to millions who find it extremely difficult to get it.

Credit: TechLoy

 

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Kwara State Govt To Launch Infrastructure Development Fund

Kwara State Government is set to launch its Infrastructure Development Fund ‘InfraFund Kwara’, (IF-K) with an initial investment of N4.2 Billion in the Energy Sector in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, revealed this during an interaction with community leaders in his office on Friday.  Alhaji Ahmed said  IF-K has been codified into the Kwara State Public Private Partnership Law which he assented to in 2015.
According to him the IF-Kproject is a result of the Kwara Infrastructure  Investment and Finance strategy which he approved following an infrastructure assessment exercise concluded in 2014.
He said the outcomes of the exercise showed an estimated N225 billion deficit value of infrastructure across all the 16 local government areas and spanning all sectors, which required both government and private investment, in order to boost the state’s productivity and wealth creation.
Alhaji Ahmed said the main objectives of IF-K are to provide a guided, systemic and outward facing framework for continuous and consistent infrastructure development, optimally leverage private sector or resources for infrastructures development and maximize the state’s resource allocation policies.
Providing further details of IF-K, the Chief Economic Assistant to Governor Ahmed, Mr. Abayomi Ogunsola said the fund will inculcate confidence in investors and encourage broader and deeper interactions with the Kwara State government from different types of private or non-private partners.
He said it will also promote banking and non-banking financial intermediary participation in infrastructure funding, provide incentives and serve as catalyst to mobilizing appropriate private sector capital, efficiency and expertise for the state’s infrastructure projects.
IFK, according to Ogunsola, also has an expected outcome of attaining stable development of Kwara Residents and businesses.
The Chief Economic Assistant said the IF-K project is one of the avenues for meeting the state’s current infrastructure needs and also a critical vehicle for proactively meeting future infrastructure needs.
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114 Killed As Nigerian Forces Launch Offensive Against Niger Delta Militants

Joint military offensives carried out in Lagos and Ogun states by the Nigerian Army, Air Force and Navy have left more than 100 militants dead.

At least 114 militants are feared killed, and scores of others were injured in attacks on their camps in southwest Nigeria. Brig. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, director of defense information, says military intelligence suggests that Niger Delta militants have been hiding out in creek beds.

The militants have recently stepped up attacks on oil pipeline installations in the oil-producing Niger Delta State and have threatened to do more harm to the oil sector.

In an interview with VOA, Abubakar said the military offensives are part of efforts to ensure the country maintains its territorial integrity. He says the offensives denied the militants freedom of movement and destroyed their camps to prevent them from having a place to launch attacks.

This, after some Nigerians tipped off the military that the Niger Delta militants have been using the creeks in both Ogun and Lagos states as hideouts to regroup, and from where they return to the Niger Delta to launch attacks on the oil infrastructure.

More offensives ahead

Abubakar described the offensives as successful due to the good synergy among the army, navy and air force. He says the offensives will continue in different parts of the country where militants create instability, including attacking unarmed civilians.

“The significance of this combined and very vibrant effort of the Nigerian armed forces is to ensure that the militants are flushed out from that general area where they have been causing mayhem,” Abubakar said, “and, more significantly, to ensure that their hideouts and camps are completely taken away from that place.”

Local media reports say the military offensive rattled residents in both Ogun and Lagos states. Some military analysts suggested that the offensives are aimed at pushing the militants to the Niger Delta area, where the armed forces have readied plans of a bigger onslaught.

Abubakar denied the offensives made residents uncomfortable. He says the security agencies will not allow militants to overrun the country by creating chaos and insecurity. He also says the offensive could serve as a significant boost to the Nigerian economy, because it would prevent the militants from destroying the oil pipelines.

Nigeria’s economy heavily depends on oil exports despite attempts by successive governments to diversify.

VOA

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Militants Make 7-point Demand, Explains Why It Failed To Launch Missiles

The Joint Revolutionary Council, JRC, of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, yesterday, gave some conditions which the government must meet in order to avert resumption of struggle.

Warning that it would go after any state governor from the Niger Delta region that betrays the current struggle by militants.

JNDLF in a statement by the Commander, General Duties, JNDLF, General Akotebe Darikoro, and three others, also explained why the militant group did not launch six missiles in the region as earlier threatened.

The group, which has agreed to engage in dialogue with the Federal Government also made a seven-point demand to forestall further attacks.

Its words: “We shall continue to engage in dialogue if our demands are met. Our representatives for the dialogue, especially the governors and others will not betray our demands with the federal  government. Any betrayal on their own part shall be viewed as betrayal of the entire region and we shall go after them immediately as they know our mode of operation in which they will not escape from us.”

The group asserted:  “There is no gainsaying that we made our earlier promise to launch six Missiles simultaneously against some targeted areas. But this was waved aside as a result of appeals made to us through email by the Federal Government and some international nations to open talks with (President) Buhari.”

“We saw some genuine aspiration on the part of Buhari, who made several contacts to us to see reason with them over the issue of under-development of the region. And since he (Buhari) had set the ball rolling for a clear negotiation with us, there is no problem without solution. We have therefore declared ceasefire in order to negotiate with the government if it is a true reflection of what they have in mind to develop the Niger Delta region”.

The group added that: “We are not ready to negotiate with the federal government for the sake of monetary benefit to us but how genuinely the government will develop the region is at the centre of our discussion and anything less than that we will continue our struggle without further warning to the federal government.”

The group gave conditions to forestall further attacks to include, include: “immediate release of the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd) and Dr. Nnamdi Kanu, whose release was ordered by the court severally, pointing out that “their continued detention was unconstitutional and against the tenet of our nascent democracy in the country”.

JNDLF also demanded that: “the government must “direct EFCC to defreeze the bank accounts of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, (a.k.a. Tompolo).  The only Nigerian Maritime University sited in the most appropriate and befitting place – Okerenkoko in Delta State, must start the 2015/2016 academic session immediately; “The immediate implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference report, failure of which Nigeria will forcefully break-up.

“Oil-polluted lands in the Niger Delta must be cleaned up, while compensation should be paid to all oil-producing communities, e.g. Chevron fire outbreak of gas explosion in Koluama, Bayelsa state and Bonga Oil Spill in 2011;

“Removal of Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd.) as an Amnesty Coordinator who does not understand the programmes and policies of the Amnesty and does not know us to the grassroots.

“Hence he (Boroh) should be replaced  with Dr. Felix Tuodolo who has been in the struggle of non-violence since 1980 and he was the designer of the Amnesty programme. The group added:

“We carry out all these attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the region because of the statement made by President Buhari that, he will develop those areas that gave him 95% votes during his presidential election last year. We, the Niger Delta people only gave him 5% hence we vowed that our oil money will not be used for the development of any other region. The President should change his mind-set towards the region, if not this will continue.” JNDLF asserted: “We further thank the American government and other international nations through several emails for prevailing on us not to use missiles, but to come to round table discussion with the federal government. We also thank our foreign partners who have gone back with their chartered submarine vessels. However, if these demands are not met as we have embarked on cease fire now, there will be no further ultimatum to the Nigerian government,” it said.

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FG Set To Launch Home Grown School Feeding Programme

Nigeria’s first national Home Grown School Feeding programme which would affect about 5.5m Nigerians in the first year of its operation would be rolling out soon in several states, preceded by a Stakeholders Forum holding in Aso Rock on Thursday to be addressed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Now in the final rounds of preparation for the commencement of the free school feeding programme for primary school pupils, the federal and state governments will review the Strategic Plan for the rollout of the scheme which is part of the N500B Social Investment plans of the Buhari presidency.

The strategic plans runs until 2020 and forms the cornerstone of the nationwide Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme which when fully realized will provide a nutritious hot meal a day to over 24 million primary school children.

HGSF programmes provide free school meals procured from local farmers. These programmes offer a ‘win-win-win’ for children, farmers and communities alike.

Children benefit from hot nutritionally balanced school meals which reduce hunger and improve education outcomes; farmers benefit from improved access to school feeding markets and communities benefit from new catering, processing and food handling jobs.

According to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo “not only will the Home Grown School Feeding programme help our pupils become better students, it will also boost the local economies, and create new jobs along the way.”

To achieve national coverage, the federal government is working in partnership with states and local communities for the successful implementation of the HGSF programme.

Equally to support the process, the federal government is working with key technical partners to capitalize upon global experience and adopt best practices. One such partner is the UK’s Imperial College, London’s Partnership for Child Development (PCD) which is providing technical assistance to the Presidency.

The forum will have in attendance Governors of Borno, Oyo, Osun, Enugu and Kaduna, and other government representatives and stakeholders from all 36 Nigerian States as well as developmental partners. The forum which is also an advocacy event will provide the opportunity for state teams and their partners to model their school feeding plans within the national HGSF framework.

Besides the strategic plan, the Vice President will also launch the ‘Global School Feeding Sourcebook: Lessons from 14 countries’, a joint Partnership for Child Development, the World Bank and World Food Programme analysis of national school feeding programmes from across the globe.

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Panic In Niger Delta Over Militants’ Threat To Launch Missiles

Threat by a militant group, Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), to launch six missiles in the Niger Delta from Tuesday has sparked panic in the geo-political zone.

Residents of Rivers, Delta and Bayelsa states in particular are apprehensive of the likely effects of the missile launch on an area that is already in turmoil over the spate of attacks on oil installations in Bayelsa and Delta states by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

They want the Federal Government and the security agencies to step in immediately and stop the situation from degenerating.

Some of the people who spoke to The Nation on the matter fear that the militants usually carry out their threats, adding that those that were issued by NDA had come to pass without anyone preventing them.

Others berated the militants and queried their motive for wanting to cause grieve among the people they claim to be defending.

Comrade Ben Tari, leader of Eye of Niger Delta (END), said in Port Harcourt that no true son of the Niger Delta would threaten the people the way the JNDLF and the NDA are going about their business.

He queried: “Are you sure that these people are from the Niger Delta? They say they are new but they are not new. They are still the same people that broke away from earlier groups because they refused to be controlled.

“They are complaining about government and the oil companies, killing the means of livelihood of the Niger Delta people, such as the aquatic system.

“Now they want to launch missiles to kill us and our soil.

“If they want to fight our cause, they should make use of the International Court.”

The President of Aggrieved Niger Delta, Mr. Prince Amatari Bipeledei, described the missile launch threat as a needless venture and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to have a rethink about military action to confront the Niger Delta militants.

He called for dialogue instead.

Bipeledei said: “Nobody has ever achieved anything with violence. I want the Avengers to apply dialogue and a sense of maturity, understanding and wisdom.

“I am for peace, and to be frank, agitation may not be meaningful because it has put the region in a tight situation.

“I am not happy about the inability of the government to take things seriously until they have gone out of hand.

“These youths would not have gone this far if the previous government had considered our challenges.”

The Secretary General of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Mr. Bristol Alagbariya Emmanuel, attributed the fresh wave of violence to alleged neglect of the zone by successive governments.

He said there would always be crises in the region for as long as it remains underdeveloped and neglected.

A former military administrator of Bayelsa State, Colonel Edor Obi (rtd) advised the Federal Government to exercise caution in handling the problem, noting that the challenge cannot be solved militarily.

He said: “The killing of soldiers and civilians and bombing of oil facilities are condemnable, but the Federal Government would have to thread with caution in handling the matter.

“It will require a lot of tact to address the problem. But one thing the government must do is open up communication channels because the problem cannot be solved militarily.

“If we are not careful in handling the problem, it could become a more complex national security challenge than terrorism.”

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Ladi Williams, also advised the Federal Government against using only force to address the problem. Instead, he said, the government should use the carrot and stick approach to resolve the challenge.

“The government should talk to them a little and fight them a little,” he said.

“The present development portends doom and sodomy for the country. It is bad for the investment drive of the country and not helping the image of the country internationally.

“The President must constitute a war and peace council that should not consist of officials of the government alone but everybody who genuinely wants an end to this problem.

“The young men making up the group should also toe the part of peace and avoid wasting their lives.”

The president, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Comrade Shetima Yerima, who doubles as the Chairman, Coalition of Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders, described the JNDLF threat as disappointing, saying: “It is unfortunate that they are sabotaging the efforts of the government and setting the country back for no good reasons.

“It is very wrong of them to have put us in this mess. If they have issues with the Federal Government or any individual in the government, they should employ a peaceful way of resolving it.

“We all gave the region our support for them to get 13 per cent derivation and other benefits without using violence. Why should they now take to violence if there is anything that they want the government to do?

“We would not advise the Federal Government to use force against them. The use of force does not lead to anything good. Rather, the government should employ dialogue to resolve the problem. “They should engage all the stakeholders to come up with a roadmap to resolving the problem.”

Debunking the rumour that the Igbo are working in conjunction with the militants, the President of the youth wing of the pan-Igbo socio- political group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, said: “The Niger Delta militants don’t have the support of Ndigbo. We totally condemn their activities because they are causing untold setback for the good plans that President Buhari has for the country.

“They don’t have our support, and in the interest of the whole nation, we urge them to put an end to the attacks.

“The militants, Boko Haram groups and the agitators in the South East should bring their grievances to the table for dialogue.”

His Ijaw Youth Congress counterpart, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, said: “The attacks are senseless but the government must be responsible to its duties.”

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa State, Mr. Christopher Abarowei, appealed to security agencies to expand their intelligence and investigate the threats with all seriousness.

“We recall that the militants said they were going to carry out an attack that would shock the world.

“In this dangerous times we live in, security operatives must close ranks to pursue all intelligence and identify all threats before dismissing them.

“Anything can happen.”

Abarowei also urged the youths in the region to change their tactics of agitation, adding that violent protest was out of vogue.

He said the action of the militants had deepened the hardship in the region and resulted in the inability of states in the area to pay salaries.

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide pleaded with all militant groups in the zone to give peace a chance.

The IYC in a statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, said the present situation “requires the direct involvement of President Buhari,” because, as he put it, “the events of the last few days have clearly shown that those mandated to lead the peace process have failed to produce the desired result.”

He also advised the governors of the Niger Delta states to “collaborate and galvanise stakeholders in the region to quickly start the process to return peace to the Niger Delta region.

“This is a call to save the Niger Delta region and Nigeria; hence political considerations must be set aside.

“The events that are happening in the region pose serious economic, environmental and security challenges to the entire nation.”

The group told the NDA and other groups threatening the peace that “violence has never solved problems anywhere in the world.

“The federal, state governments and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region should be given the opportunity to look at the issues at stake. We strongly feel that the continuous bombing of oil facilities and killings is not in the interest of the Niger Delta region and people. Aggrieved groups must give peace a chance!”

It condemned Wednesday’s killing of soldiers and civilians in a houseboat in Delta State, saying: “In the last 72 hours, there have been reported cases of attacks and killing of soldiers, civilians working in house boats and attacks on oil facilities in Ogbeinbiri, Bayelsa State and Forcados export line, Delta State.

“The civilians killed at the boat house were mainly Ijaw youths, including Tombra David Iwoubebi, Anita Demedongha from Odimodi Community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State and Miss Flora Gbenekama from Azama in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area.

“We in strong words condemn this senseless killing of soldiers and civilians that were working in the houseboat. This act of wickedness would only complicate an already delicate security situation.”

Ex-President-General, Ndokwa Neku Union (NNU) in Delta State, Paul Enebeli urged the Federal Government and the militant group Joint Niger-Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) to tread the path of peace.

He said the threat to launch six missiles from June 7, if carried out, would jeopadise the unity of the nation.

He advised the federal government to employ proxies to negotiate with the militants, stressing that the militants might be afraid to come out to the negotiating table for fear of being arrested.

He said many patriotic Niger-Deltans will be willing to engage the militants and persuade them to drop their arms.

He said two wrongs cannot make a right, noting that “the destruction of our commonwealth and the threat by the federal government to deal decisively with the militants as counterproductive.”

According to him, the risk and benefit in the military option was more risk prone than posing any benefit to the nation.

He warned that the Nigerian State cannot afford to three theatres of war, adding that the war in the North-East is still raging, while the IPOB protests is gaining momentum, and urged caution in tackling the insurgency in the Niger-Delta.

He said: “If we are not careful, the various wars could ‘derail the delivery of the electoral promise of the ruling party.”

Some stakeholders in Anambra State said there was no cause for panic.

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Rita Maduagwu; the Vice Chancellor of Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Prof Fidelis Okafor and the traditional ruler of Amanuke in Awka North, lgwe Denis Ezebuilo, said Nigeria needs peace at this point in time and nothing should be done to harm its unity.

“What we need is peace and unity in this country and we will not allow anything to separate us,” Maduagwu said.

Prof. Okafor asked Nigerians not to panic and said God was in control in Nigeria.

“God is protecting this country, there is no cause for alarm. Such a threat would eventually turn out an empty one,” he said.

lgwe Ezebuilo told The Nation yesterday that only God’s grace could stop the  plan.

He said the Almighty God would surely destabilize any evil plan by anybody or group in the country.

To Akure lawyer and activist, Mr. Charles Titiloye, the JNDLF threat is nothing short of a declaration of war on Nigeria.

He asked the federal government to immediately proceed to take a decisive action on the threat to the nation’s security.

Titiloye who is a former Secretary, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Akure Branch urged Niger Delta elders not to allow militants to turn the creeks into another Sambisa Forest.

“The time to check the activities of these militants is now. It is very unfortunate that despite the amnesty programme which is sustained by the Buhari government, militants are still threatening the Nigerian state.”

The National President of theYoruba Youth Congress (YYC), Prince Dapo Adepoju also condemned the threat to launch missiles. The YYC leader pleaded with the group to lay down its arms in the interest of peace.

The Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF) on Thursday threatened to launch six missiles in the Niger Delta region from Tuesday.

It did not disclose the nature of the missiles but  warned that no airplanes should fly in and out of the country within the period claiming that the weapons were capable of hitting any object despite its size.

It said its fighters trained for that purpose had already arrived the region with its foreign partners through what it described as the country’s porous borders.

The group in an electronic statement said it took the decision to further wreck havoc in the region at  a meeting attended in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State by its commanders.

It said that the launching of the missiles would signal its readiness for the final breakup of the country.

The statement was signed by people who identified  themselves as ‘General’ Torunanaowei Latei (Creek Network Coordinator); ‘General’ Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro (Pipeline Bleeding Expert); ‘General’ Akotebe Darikoro (Commander, General Duties) and ‘General’ Pulokiri Ebikade (Intelligence Bureau).

TheNation

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President Buhari’s Address At The Launch Of The Clean-up Of Ogoniland

DELIVERED BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, VICE PRESIDENT

Today marks another milestone in the life of our Administration. I recall the time as a Military Head of State when I visited Bodo Town in Ogoniland. During that visit, I commissioned a large fish pond and planted a tree as a sign of the government’s concern for the environment. Unfortunately, since then, the degradation of land, water and the air has done huge damage to the fragile ecosystem of the Niger Delta, particularly Ogoniland.

2. Oil exploration and production has been going on in Nigeria for six decades. Oil has given a boost to the Nigerian economy. But the ecosystem of the Niger Delta has been severely damaged. Fishing and agriculture have been badly affected. There are Acts, enactments’ guidelines and regulations to govern the operators of the oil industry. However, either because of lack of will or willful non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations, the environment was put in jeopardy.

3. The various communities in the Niger Delta region, noting the negative impact of oil production and lack of consideration for best oil field practices, quite rightly commenced the struggle for justice and fair play in the conduct of business by the oil industry operators. This process unfortunately led to the loss of lives and properties. International concerns were raised, while past Governments were urged to take decisive steps in addressing the damage.

4. The Administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo engaged the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to undertake an environment assessment study of Ogoniland. UNEP report detailed a number of issues for consideration while recommendations were made for its implementation. The report was submitted to my predecessor in office in 2011 but the implementation was not accorded the necessary support it needed. The people of Ogoniland continued to suffer from pollution of air, land and water.

5. On Thursday the 8th day of January 2015, in the course of our presidential campaign, we made an unscheduled stop in Ogoniland. After listening to the address presented on behalf of the Ogoni people by Senator Magnus Abe, we made a solemn commitment, that, if given the opportunity we shall implement the UNEP report on Ogoniland. We are determined to put right the wrongs of the past, where the people of this land were treated unfairly and their environment unduly degraded and polluted.

6. Today we are in Ogoniland, in the heart of the Niger Delta, to fulfill our promise to you,and to bring justice and succour to our people. The clean-up of this land will require change on the part of all of those who deal with the Niger Delta environment, particularly the oil companies and our communities. The tempo of activities for this assignment increased when my cabinet was constituted. The Honourable Minister of Environment consulted all relevant Ministries that could actualize the UNEP Report. Several stakeholders’ meetings and activities were held. We are therefore laying a solid foundation today, for the restoration of the fragile ecosystem of Ogoniland and the rest of the Niger Delta. This is an epoch making event in the history of Nigeria. The UNEP Report indicated a timeline of 25-30 years to achieve a full restoration of the environment in Niger Delta. The first step begins with a solid foundation which will be brought about through consultation, transparency , accountability , investing in people and the environment. There is therefore a serious need for all Nigerians, irrespective of political, ethnic or religious affiliations to support the great effort of this Administration. I have given approval to the constitution of the necessary institutional framework that will drive a hitch free implementation of the UNEP Report. Our lives, socio-economic and political interests depend to a great extent on the quality of our environment.

7. Let me sieze this opportunity to sound a note of warning. The current illegal oil refining activities and oil theft will no longer be tolerated. The regulators in the oil industry must also live up to expectations. They must ensure that oil companies carry out their operations in line with universal oil field best practices. This Administration is laying a foundation for change, therefore the rule of law, good governance as well as the security of our people are paramount.

8. The government places high emphasis on the diversification of our economy. The drive is to ensure that the Nigerian economy is strong and capable of supporting her teeming youths through jobs and wealth creation. The clean-up of Ogoniland has embedded in the programme, livelihood and sustainable development components. A Centre of Excellence that will identify the skills gaps and provide the necessary training will be put in place. The methodology for the clean-up will ensure job creation for the youths. The agro-allied industries required for the processing of the agricultural produce will also be put in place in the course of the clean-up project.

9. The Host Communities, as well as transit communities are enjoined to keep their environment clean, devoid of oil pollution. The reports of oil pollution in the Nigerian environment show that over 70% a significant percentage are due to sabotage and willful vandalism of oil companies’ facilities. The recent upsurge in the blasting of pipelines in the operation areas of Shell Petroleum Development Company, Chevron Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company is a case in point. These incidents brought about drastic reduction in our daily oil production as well as the quantum of gas that feed power plants for electricity generation.

10. Inadequate power supply has consequential implications on our economy and wealth creation. The action of these saboteurs of our economy therefore increases the poverty cycle everywhere including their own communities. Given the current situation in the Niger Delta, it must be borne in mind that, destroying the Niger Delta environment by oil companies, militants, or oil thieves have the same end result. The important thing is that the present government can do justice to all without us destroying our environment. I enjoin the traditional rulers, the elite, opinion leaders, the press, women as well as youths of Ogoniland and the Niger Delta to work conscientiously and to ensure that we put an end to all oil installation vandalism.

11. I wish to place on record, the appreciation of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the United Nations Environment Programme which continues to support the efforts aimed at making our environment a safe place to dwell in. It is my hope that we will all join hands to make this epoch-making event a grand success. I hope to come and inspect progress of this assignment before long and I expect to see visible improvement in the environmental conditions here.

12. The choice is for you to keep your environment clean and nurture the Niger Delta back to its lost glory. The beginning of this clean-up exercise is clear evidence that Ken Saro Wiwa and other sons of Ogoniland who fought hard for environmental justice did not fight in vain. Let this mark the beginning of the restoration not just of the environment of Ogoniland, but of peace and prosperity to the great land and people of Ogoniland. May God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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New Militant Group Threatens To Launch Missile, Bring Down Military Aircraft

A new militant group, the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, (NDLF), has surfaced in the Niger Delta region threatening to bring down any military helicopter deployed to the region.

In a statement issued on Thursday,  the group also vowed to launch missiles, boasting that its men who have been receiving training abroad in the last one year were back in the country.

The statement was jointly signed by General Akotebe Darikoro, Commander, General Duties; General Torunnanaowei Latei, Creeks Network Coordinator; General Agbakakuro Owei-Tauro, Pipelines Bleeding Expert; and General Pulokiri Ebiladei of its Intelligence Bureau.

Referring to President Muhammadu Buhari as ‘Pharaoh’, the group said it had noted that he (Buhari) is ready for the breakup of Nigeria and would be ready to assist him achieve that.

The statement issued by the group, which claimed affiliation to the Niger Delta Avengers reads:

 

“We have seen and noted that President Muhammadu Buhari (a.k.a.

Pharaoh) is set for the final breakup of the country. Mr. Buhari should also know that we are also prepared and set for his proposal. The Joint Revolutionary Council (JRC) which is the highest organ of all the freedom fighting body has finally endorsed the followings:

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1. After extensive and exhaustive deliberation by all Commanders of various groups in Yenagoa, the heart of the Niger Delta struggle met last night and as part of our mission, we are going to test six (6) of our MISSILES in the region. This is to show the federal government of our readiness of the American prediction.

2. There should be NO any form of helicopter to fly around in the region as we will not guarantee the safety of such object.

3. The people of the Niger Delta region should not be panic in course of test running the 6 MISSILES.

4. We may also decide within the week to shut down the Nigerian satellite orbit, so that there will be no communication in the country if needs arise.

5. Within our three (3) days operations, NO airplane should fly out of the country because it can target such object no matter how small or big it may be.

6. Our Fighter Expert Team shall be position in the six (6) Niger Delta states, who are already arrived the region from training through our country’s porous borders with our foreign partners who are going to showcase what they have learnt in past on year.

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7. Our struggle is not for any human blood, but we have been pushed to the wall for justice because our patience is running out on daily basis as Nigerian uniform men killing our innocent people continuously.

8. Nigerian military should as a matter of urgency leave peacefully the Ijaw communities they are presently in, the next 48 hours under the guise of searching for the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) or else we should not be blamed of whatever catastrophe that may befall on such officers and the likely affected families of the officers should blame not the region.

9. We have consulted our war gods (deities) that enough is enough and that the time has come. Since the present Pharaoh of Nigeria, President Buhari is to preside over the disintegration of the country it is a good omen.

10. Henceforth, any attack on Ijaw communities or person(s) by the military or para-military body in the region, we will not hesitate to order our shoot-at-sight squad of any uniform personnel in the region.

11. We ask all Service Chiefs including Minister of Defence to shamefully resign their positions because Nigeria has no security in whatever form. Bravo to our Foreign Marine Crack Team for their ability to shut down Nigerian obsolete surveillance equipments.

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12. For the records, Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) are not in Delta state, we only go there to strike and return back safely to the struggle base, Bayelsa state.

13. We further warn especially Mr. Jonathan Obuebite, Information Commissioner in Bayelsa state not to criticize our activities any longer or else he has a choice of leaving the planet earth anytime he made such statement(s).

14. All oil and gas operations should shut down immediately as our MISSILES testing will affect their equipments.

15. NOTE, we shall commence MISSILES testing on Tuesday 7, June 2016 which coincide with the date of our training abroad. Since the present Pharaoh of Nigeria (Buhari) fails to our demands. We promised Nigerians and the entire world that we are going to surprise them.

President Buhari was scheduled to flag off the clean up of Ogoniland but cancelled it at the eleventh hour.

He however sent his Vice, Yemi Osinbajo to represent him.

It is not clear if the President’s cancellation of the trip to Ogoniland has anything to do with the attacks being carried out by the Niger Delta Avengers across the region.

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Abuja, Nigeria Becomes Uber’s 400th City To Launch

Abuja joins the growing list of smart African cities to offer Uber

ABUJA, Nigeria, March 23, 2016/ — Today, Abuja becomes the 400th city to in Uber’s growing global network.With the launch of Uber, an innovative technology platform, Abuja joins the list of smart transportation hubs in Africa. Following the success of Uber in many other cities, Uber is excited to launch its ride-sharing platform to the people of Abuja.

Uber Abuja

Uber’s innovative platform connects drivers with riders in real time, at the touch of a button. Whether you’re going to work or going out with friends, Uber provides an affordable, safe and reliable way to get across the city.  Abuja is a place where entrepreneurs are born, it is a growing city in the heart of Nigeria. This is a reason why Uber loves Abuja – its people, energy, innovation and beauty really speak for itself.

Ebi Atawodi, General Manager for Uber Lagos said:

“We’re really excited to be launch Uber in Abuja. Uber gives the people of Abuja an affordable, easy and flexible choice to move around the city safely and reliably.

“For those who don’t know, Uber moves around millions of global citizens every day offering affordable and reliable rides at the touch of a button. By offering a friendly and reliable complement to existing transport options, we can help improve urban mobility in Abuja, reduce traffic congestion and the environmental impact of vehicles at the same time.”

So what is Uber?

Uber helps people get a ride at the push of a button – there’s no waiting on the street or walking through unfamiliar neighborhoods to find a bus. It’s the most convenient way to get a safe, reliable and affordable ride.

Before Getting into the Car

  • No more street hails or waiting outside to find a ride.  You can start the Uber app from anywhere and wait safely for your car to arrive.   That means no standing on the street to hail a cab or struggling to find the nearest bus stop late at night.
  • Trips are no longer anonymous.  When a driver accepts your request, you see his or her first name, photo, and license plate number.  You can also check whether others have had a good experience with him or her.  In addition, the driver can see your first name and rating.  You can contact the driver—and vice versa— through the app if there is any confusion around pick-up details.

During the Ride

  • Share your ETA and location.  You can easily share your ride details, including the specific route and estimated time of arrival, with friends or family for extra peace of mind.  They’ll receive a link where they can see in real time the name and photo of the driver, their vehicle, and where you are on the map until you arrive at your destination—and they can do all of this without having to download the Uber app themselves.

After the Ride

  • Feedback and ratings after every trip.  After every ride, you and your drivers need to rate each other and provide feedback.  Our safety team reviews this information and investigates any issues.
  • 24/7 Support.  If something happens in a car, whether it’s a traffic accident or altercation between you and your driver, our customer support staff are ready to respond to any issues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Rapid Response.  We have a dedicated Incident Response Team to answer any more urgent issues.  If we receive a report that a driver or rider has acted dangerously or inappropriately, we suspend their account, preventing him or her from accessing the platform while we investigate.

Behind the Scenes

  • Always on the map.  Accountability is one of the things that makes riders feel safe in an Uber.  We use GPS to keep a record of where a driver goes during the ride, allowing us to verify that the most efficient routes are being used, which creates accountability and a strong incentive for good behavior.
  • Working with law enforcement.  In cases where law enforcement provides us with valid legal process, we work to get them the facts, for example by providing trip logs.  Again, transparency and accountability are at the heart of the Uber experience.
  • Pre-screening drivers.  All drivers must undergo a screening process before they can use the Uber app.

Ebi Atawodi added:

“Uber is part of a broader evolution in transportation, it is a new and exciting platform that is changing the way we travel and shaping the future of cities across the world. Abuja is a progressive, forward-thinking city that has a need for safe, reliable and efficient transportation and we are so excited to be launching here.”

 

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USAID, Sokoto Govt Launch Project To Train 2.1m Primary, Out Of School Children

Sokoto State Government will ensure access to quality education for a total of 1.7m primary school and out of school children under the new Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI+) policy.

To be funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the policy will reach 1.6million primary school children in grades One to Three, along with 500,000 out of school children and youths attending 11,000 non-formal learning centres.

Speaking at the launching of the project in Sokoto Tuesday, USAID’s Mission Director for Nigeria, Mr. Michael Harvey, said the initiative will use the ‘whole child, whole teacher, whole school and whole system approach which addresses critical supply and demand factors that affect learning, teaching, management, parental participation and responsiveness to parental needs.’

He said in practical terms, the initiative will improve reading skills for more two million school-aged children and youth. “It will also train and equip 45,000 teachers and learning facilitators who can reach children in schools and non-formal learning centres,” he added.

While announcing that Bauchi, and another yet-to-be named state will also benefit from the project, Harvey said the commitment shown by the political leadership in Sokoto to address the challenges of education will have far reaching benefits.

In his remarks, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said his administration is determined to ensure that all children get access to quality education in the state.

He said government has resolved to improve manpower needs of the education sector and that only competent hands will be allowed to implement policies in the sector.

Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, said said it has become imperative for members of the society to change their orientation towards education.

He said Sokoto Caliphate was founded on ideals knowledge. He said now that the state government has shown enough commitment to education, “we owe ourselves a duty to support it.”

“Islam abhors begging and hawking. The place of education is Islam cannot be compared to anything. We cannot allow our children to be roaming the streets while their counterparts elsewhere attend classes,” he added.
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