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Soldiers arrest ex-militant leader, others ahead of Osinbajo’s visit

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Ahead of Tuesday’s visit by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo to Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, tension on Sunday enveloped the Niger Delta region over alleged arrest and invasion of some ex-militant leaders’ homes in the state by soldiers.

Our correspondent reliably learnt that scores of ex-militants, including a top ex-militant leader, Mr. Bounanawei Smith, alias King of the Forest, were arrested in a fresh crackdown in what sources said were not unconnected with renewed hostilities and fresh threat by the Niger Delta Avengers to attack oil facilities.

Osinbajo is scheduled to visit Gbaramatu Kingdom where the embattled ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo, hails from.

Osinbajo’s visit is for the purpose of holding talks with leaders of Gbaramatu, which had become a hub of militants’ activities in recent times.

Security, ahead of the visit, has been beefed up both on land and in the sea, as gunboats and military personnel, dispatched to strategic locations in Warri South-West were seen, while military vans were also seen on Saturday and Sunday patrolling flashpoints in the state.

Sources close to Smith told our correspondent on Sunday that operatives of the Joint Task Force, code-named: Operation Delta Safe, invaded the ex-militant leader’s home at Esiso Estate along Effurun/Sapele Road in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area in the late hours of Saturday.

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The ex-militant leader was said to be holding a meeting with some members of the Ijaw Youth Council when the soldiers allegedly forcefully broke into his home before arresting him and seven others, whose identities were not known as of the time of filing this report.

It was further learnt that some other ex-agitators were also arrested on Saturday by the military and were held at the Warri Naval Base of the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta awaiting to be moved to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja.

Smith was only recently appointed by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa as a member of the state’s Land and Waterways Security Committee, charged with the responsibility of working with security agencies to ensure peace in the state.

The Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Joseph Dzunve, when contacted on the telephone on Sunday, confirmed that several persons were arrested and were being held at the Naval Base Warri. He declined to give details of the arrest.

The spokesman for the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, confirmed the arrest of the ex-militants in a statement issued on Sunday in Warri, describing the arrest as primitive and capable of fuelling restiveness in the region.

The statement read in part, “The Ijaw Youth Council states that the Federal Government is inciting crisis in the Niger Delta by the continued invasion, arrest and detention of Niger Deltans, especially ex-agitators, without any justifiable reason. The latest of such invasion and arrest is the commando-style arrest of ex-agitator, Bounanawei Smith, alias King of the Forest.

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“Mr. Bounanawei was arrested in his guest house by military men while hosting some Ijaw Youth Council members. They invaded and ransacked the whole of his guest house and some of the IYC members who were with him narrowly escaped death when the military officers shot sporadically into his apartment.

“The IYC condemn this naked, primitive and unwarranted display of force. It is on record that Mr. Bounanawei had since accepted amnesty and had been very active in maintaining peace and security in the Niger Delta especially in Delta State.”

The IYC recalled that the invasion, arrest and detention of Niger Deltans by the military had become a norm in the region.

“On January 1, 2017, while the entire world was celebrating the New Year, military officers invaded Gbaraun community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, shot into the community, arrested a youth leader, Kalami Inakemeduo, under the guise that he is a militant and he is being detained up till this moment.

“This is in addition to several other Ijaw youths languishing in military detention such as Aboy Muturu, Ezekiel Daniel, Victor Odogu (the IYC spokesman, Abuja chapter) and several others. These persons have been in the DSS and military detention for more than eight months without trial and no reason has been given for their arrest,” the statement added.

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The IYC, in the statement, demanded immediate release of all ex-militants arrested by the security agents including Smith, Aboy Muturu, Ezekiel Daniel, Victor Odogu, Kalami Inakemeduo and other Ijaws in detention across the country.

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Politics

Varsity Don, Dibu Ojerinde Cautions Against Anti-Ajimobi Protests Over APC Nomination

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Prof. Dibu Ojerinde

An international educational administrator and prominent indigene of Oke-Ogun in Oyo State, Professor ‘Dibu Ojerinde has appealed for cautions among leaders and members of the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress over reported protests coming from the camp of an aggrieved group against the recent nomination of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as Deputy National Chairman (South) of the party.

Ojerinde’s call came in the wake of recent media reports which revealed the opposition of some aggrieved Oyo APC chieftains and leaders to the nomination of the former governor to succeed Chief Adeniyi Adebayo from Ekiti state (now the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment) in that party leadership capacity. Notable figures reported to be opposed to Ajimobi’s nomination are former deputy governor, Chief Moses Adeyemo, Alhaji Akin Olajide (former SSG in Ajimobi government), Sen. Adesoji Akanbi, Alh. Fatai Ibikunle among others.

In a statement he personally issued today from his Igboho country home and made available to journalists in Ibadan, Prof. Ojerinde described protests against Sen. Ajimobi’s recommendation for the top party leadership job as unnecessary and ill-conceived “in view of the fact that the idea was a brainchild of eminent APC stakeholders from virtually all the five other south western states as a matter of political exigency.

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“The former governor may have inevitably offended some of these people while in office and I understand this was also responsible for the crisis which engulfed Oyo APC in 2018 as it was allowed to drag until the party lost the governorship seat to the PDP in 2019 general election. But these same elders and leaders should find a way of resolving this among themselves once and for all in the interest of their teeming members and the state.

“A situation whereby they allowed such grievances to cost them the coveted governorship seat must not continue in the interest of the party and the society at large. This has always been my position as a leader of thought in the state. I expressed the same opinion yesterday when I had a cause to visit one of these aggrieved leaders in Igboho and again, I am using this medium to appeal to other concerned individuals or groups to bury all the hatchets permanently.

“In the opinion of many political watchers, the seemingly intractable crisis within Oyo APC is inimical to the progress of the state simply because the party can boast of many quality hands who are capable of adding value to the state and Nigeria as a country if afforded the opportunity to work together as a team and not as warring entities.

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“My own sincere appeal is to every stakeholder within the party to work towards finding a lasting solution to the internal wrangling and guide against anything capable of causing schism among them again as all hands must be on deck to restore the full confidence of the voting public on the progressive party which was still able to have a comfortable majority in the population of National Assembly members from the state despite all odds in 2019”, the Professor Emeritus of Tests and Measurement stated.

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Politics

Oyo LG Crisis: ALGON condemns Makinde’s proposal, says ‘payoff’ violates anti corruption war

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The Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State chapter has condemned the suggestion by Governor Seyi Makinde to pay them off, describing the idea as antithetical to the war against corruption.

Contained in a letter written to the Counsel to the State Government, Mr Akin Onigbinde SAN by ALGON through its lawyer, Kunle Sobaloju Esq , the sacked elected chairmen said the suggestion is a disservice to the people of their local government and Oyo State to collect financial compensation in lieu of their constitutionally guaranteed tenure.

The Association also expressed appreciation to the government for recognizing and acknowledging their mandate as the democratically elected officials of the 33 Local Council and 35 local development areas respectively by offering to pay them their salaries.

“We refer to your letter dated 20th February, 2020 and have brought the contents of the said letter to the notice of our client which they have considered, and by this letter, we wish to communicate their response to you.

The letter reads, “We have our clients’ instruction to express their appreciation to his Excellency for recognizing and acknowledging our clients’ mandate as the democratically elected Chairmen and Councilors of the 33 Local Government Councils and 35 LCDAs in Oyo State by offering to pay them their salaries and allowances due.

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“However, our clients consider it a disservice to the people of their respective Local Government Areas and the entire people of Oyo State to collect financial compensation as proposed by you in lieu of their constitutionally guaranteed election tenure.

“Our Clients are equally of the view that accepting financial compensation by way of your calculated salary and severance allowance would amount to aiding the breach of the constitution and may also lead to violation of anti-corruption laws by collecting salaries and allowances for a futuristic job tenure yet to be lived out.

“We therefore have our clients’ instruction to inform you that the financial pay off proposed is unacceptable to them.

“We appreciate your efforts towards the amicable settlement of issues between the parties and convey our professional regards of the highest esteem”, the letter concluded.

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Real Reason Why Oyo ALGON Rejected Makinde’s ‘Pay Off Deal’ {Read Full Details}

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Prince Aleshinloye

The sacked elected Council Chairmen  under the aegis of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo state chapter on Friday said the pay off deal proposed by Governor Seyi Makinde would amount to aiding the breach of the constitution and may also leads to violation of anti – corruption law by collecting salaries and allowances for futuristic job tenure yet to be lived out.

 

While rejecting the ‘Pay Off Deal’, the Council Chairmen reechoed their  resolve to complete their tenure as constitutionally guaranteed, just as they opined that rather than accepting the financial pay off deal,  the Seyi Makinde led government should appoint two additional supervisory councilors and one Liaison officer who will work together with the elected local government officials in all the LGAs and LCDAs.
 

The government’s counsel, Akin Onigbinde SAN had earlier sought for an Out of Court Settlement’  which was adopted by all stakeholders involved in the crisis rocking the local governments in the state.

 

 

ALGON,  in a document dated 21 February, 2020 jointly signed by its Chairman, Prince Abass Aleshinloye and Pastor Jesutoye (Secretary) and obtained by Mega Icon Magazine further considered it a disservice to the people of their respective Local Government Areas and the entire people of Oyo State to collect financial compensation as proposed in lieu of their constitutionally guaranteed tenure

 

“ALGON considers it a disservice to the people of their respective Local Government Areas and the entire people of Oyo State to collect financial compensation as proposed in lieu of our constitutionally guaranteed tenure. ALGON is equally of the view that accepting financial compensation by way of calculated salary and severance allowance would amount to aiding the breach of the constitution and may also leads to violation of anticorruption law by collecting salaries and allowances for futuristic job tenure yet to be lived out .

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“ALGON therefore resolved that the financial pay off proposed in the offers unacceptable to us hence we reiterate our resolve to complete our tenure as constitutionally guaranteed.

“In the overall interest of our dear state and to achieve a robust and participatory governance at the grass root, ALGON opined that the government may appoint additional TWO Supervisory Councilors, and ONE Liason Officer per LGA and LCDA, to the existing and already inaugurated appointed ones, to make government of all inclusive. ALGON believes this is idea”, the document reads

The association , however lauded  Governor Makinde for recognizing and acknowledging the elected chairpersons and councilors by offering to pay them salaries and allowances.

“ALGON express appreciation to His Excellency, for recognizing and acknowledging our mandate as the democratically elected chairmen and councilors of the 33 local government councils and 35 LCDAs in Oyo state by offering to pay us salaries and allowances of due although this was coming from the 16 days after the initiative was moved on the 15th of February, 2020” .

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