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Bayelsa LG Poll: PDP candidates to emerge through consensus – Chairman

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The Bayelsa chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says candidates for the July 27, Local Government (LG) Poll in the state would emerge through consensus.

The state’s PDP Chairman, Mr Cleopas Moses made the remark in a statement he signed and issued to journalists in Yenagoa on Wednesday.

Moses, however called on party members to remain united ahead of the poll.

He expressed optimism that the party would emerge victorious in the election.

The chairman said tentative dates for the conduct of the party’s primaries for the LG poll would be announced after confirmation by the national secretariat.

He urged all aspirants to legitimately go about their campaigns and consult widely with a view to having a rancor-free electoral process.

“On Tuesday, we met in view of the coming elections. The meeting had in attendance the leadership of the party, the political desk and some critical stakeholders. It was mainly to brainstorm on how to go about the election.

“Like you all know, the PDP is one big family and we have the capacity and spread to win the election provided it is freely and fairly conducted. We call on our members to continue to maintain the peace and oneness that is currently within the party.

“What we discussed here will be transmitted to the governor by his deputy, who is directly supervising whatever we are doing.

“We have rolled out plans of activities for the election but because we are a much organised party, we are waiting for our national to approve it and give us the go ahead. So by the weekend, everything will be clear. Like our leader the governor will say, all legitimate ambitions are welcomed. However, we don’t want any rancor, so we advise all aspirants to consult widely and engage in consensus building,” he said.

Christian Ogbonnaya: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

General news

Bayelsa deputy speaker donates palliatives to constituency

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Mr Michael Ogbere, the Deputy Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly has donated palliatives of  bags of cassava flakes (garri) to  Ekeremor Constituency 3 which he represents.

Ogbere at the ceremony in Ekeremor on Monday noted that both the rural and urban communities of the constituency from the coastal end were locked down due to the  viral Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

He said that the donation was a  gesture on his part of encouraging and reaching out to his people in this trying time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured the people that the challenges at hand were temporary and would soon pass away by the grace of God.

News Agency of Nigeria reports that during the ceremony, Mr Moses Akinfe, the Special Adviser to the deputy speaker, said the donation was made to  ameliorate the excruciating negative effects of the ongoing interstates lock-down on the people.

NAN reports that constituency members from Ekeremor Ward 11 and Ward 12 took delivery of the items evenly distributed to all the 23 riverine communities through the leadership of the Community Development Chairmen.

Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Environment

Equipment failure caused 2 spills from Agip’s oilfields in Bayelsa – NOSDRA

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The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says the two recent leaks from Agip’s oilfields in  Southern Ijaw and Brass Local Government Areas of Bayelsa were caused by equipment failure.

Mr Idris Musa, Director-General, NOSDRA, confirmed the development to the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Yenagoa.

Musa explained that officials of the agency conducted a Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) to Agips 10″ Cough Creek-Tebidaba pipeline at Ologbobiri in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area and found the cause to be equipment failure.

He said that officials of the agency also visited the 24″ Ogoda-Brass trunk line site at Okpoama in Brass where a leak discharged a yet-to-be ascertained volume of crude oil into the environment.

The people of Okpoama in Brass local government area had earlier sent a ‘Save Our Soul’ message to the Federal Government, following widespread pollution by the oil spill in the area.

The Chairman of the Okpoama Kingdom Oil and Gas Committe, Percy Jerry Wemi-Kwomain, said that the incident happened at the Amangaetima bush near Ewoama-Brass.

“The oil spill occurred two weeks ago and it discharged enormous amount of crude oil into the adjourning creeks and rivulets, thereby affecting the environment and the livelihood of the people of the area,” Wemi-Kwomain said.

According to him, the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) made two secret attempted to fix the leaking pipeline without a JIV conducted by the relevant authorities.

He said the efforts were frustrated by youths placed on surveillance in the area.

“Without letting us know, they came with a swamp-buggy to fix the leaking point. We stopped them twice before they came to inform us that they want us to join them for the JIV.

“The oil is still leaking and that was why we have sent SOS to the Federal Government to come to our aid,” Kwomain had said.

The community leader further noted that the high pressure pipeline was built since 1972 and had recorded failure in several points.

Reacting to the disagreement between Agip and the host communities, the NOSDRA director-general however told NAN that the JIV was done and concluded amicably.

“The host community wanted to be paid a fee before repairs. That was the source of the disagreement, but the matter was later resolved,” Musa said.

Officials of Agip however declined comments on the two incidents.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

 

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General news

Bayelsa Assembly passes 3 bills

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The Bayelsa House of Assembly on Thursday passed three amendment bills on Public Procurement, Fiscal Responsibility and the Debt Management Office 2020.

The bills, when assented to, would position Bayelsa among the state governments that adhere to International Public Sector Account Standards (IPSAS).

The Speaker, Mr Abraham Ingobere, commended members for painstakingly deliberating on the bills, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He assured members of the public that the House was committed to adding value to the lives of those who had given them the mandate to represent them.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Assembly, had on May 13, given a second reading to the three bills, seeking to open up the budgetary process.

The new process, to be carried out through electronic procurement system, is to allow inputs from Bayelsa public on budget matters.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Health

Gov. Diri lifts restriction on burials in Bayelsa

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Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Thursday lifted the ban on funerals with stringent COVID-19 protocols as a measure to decongest mortuaries in the state.

Diri had in an Executive Order aimed at containing the spread of the Coronavirus, outlawed social activities like marriages,  burials and social gatherings.

Diri who announced the approval on Thursday during a meeting of the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force which he chaired,  directed the mortuaries to get an undertaking from residents to comply with the COVID-19 protocols.

According to the governor, such burials must be conducted without attracting crowds and devoid of receptions,  adding that those who insist on conducting burials the usual way should wait till the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

“The approval is subject to obtaining of guarantees and undertaking from families willing to bury relatives to ensure strict compliance with protocols for COVID-19 prevention, avoiding crowd and observing social distancing.

“Anyone who insists on conducting burials with overnight and daylight parties with ‘Owoigiri Dances’ should wait until the Coronovirus leaves us,” Diri said

The News Agency of Nigeria the approval was sequel to requests by public medical institutions in the state to the government to avert a crisis situation.

Dr Alawode Kehinde, a Consultant Pathologist, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa had in an interview with NAN, appealed to the Bayelsa government to lift the restriction on burials as the mortuary was filled to capacity.

Kehinde said that the hospital had written to Gov. Diri to relax the restriction on burials to allow people to evacuate corpses.

According to him, if the request is granted, such burials will be done under strict compliance to social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention protocols.

He said that the morgue could no longer admit new corpses in the past week, reached its full capacity following the executive order restraining burials to check the spread of the Coronavirus in the state.

He also  said that when heavy rains set in, it would be extremely difficult for burials given the swampy topography of the state.

Kehinde, however, allayed the fears of mass burial of corpses in the FMC Morgue, adding that the hospital was aware of the present circumstances faced by the people as a result of COVID-19.

He said for those who were supposed to have evacuated corpses but were unable to, due to the restraining order, might get a concessionary discount on payable fee.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: Medical doctor tests positive in Bayelsa

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A medical doctor has tested positive for COVID-19 in Bayelsa, bringing the number of active cases in the state to two, Gov. Douye Diri has announced.

Diri confirmed the case on Tuesday at the Government House, Yenagoa, during a meeting of the COVID-19 taskforce, which he serves as Chairman.

A news release by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that the doctor, a staff member of the Federal Medical Centre in Yenagoa, was earlier admitted at a private hospital before he tested positive to the virus.

According to the governor, his travel history shows that he came into the state from a trip to neighbouring Delta.

“The hospital has been shut down for decontamination to commence,” he explained.

The governor, however,  noted that the five positive COVID-19 patients in the state were successfully treated and discharged.

He cautioned frontline medical personnel handling active cases to adhere strictly to laid down protocols.

Diri also directed that the Presidential directives of inter-state lockdown be adopted for another two weeks as well as the dusk-to-dawn curfew of 8pm to 6am.

He stated that the stay-at-home order for civil servants on grade levels 01 to 12 be extended for another two weeks as part of strategies to contain spread of the scourge.

“On the issue of worship centres maintaining the social distancing order, I permitted Muslims in the state to hold the forthcoming Eid-el Kabir prayers but stressed the need for them to observe all the rules and regulations on COVID-19,” he said.

The governor further stated that all VIPs and those on essential services coming into the state must submit themselves for screening at the boundary points.

“On donors to the state, we have a number of them that have assisted the state both in kind and cash towards mitigating the impact of the dreaded virus.

The donors are former President Goodluck Jonathan, who donated 1,000 bags each of rice and beans while the immediate past Governor, Mr Seriake Dickson, gave N10 million.

“The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, made a donation of two motorised modular fumigators while one Mr Freeborn David donated 150 face masks.

“Others are First City Monument Bank, Yenagoa branch, 114 cartons of instant noodles, 979 10kg bags of rice and 80 packets of face masks.

“Ecobank, 350 10kg bags of rice, 370 5kg bags of garri (cassava flakes); Academic Staff Union of Universities Port Harcourt zone, 100 milligrams of 500 bottles of sanitisers as well as the Yenagoa branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, 50 bottles of 200 milligram sanitisers,” Diri said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Politics

Bayelsa: Sylva advises APC members to keep hope alive

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The Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bayelsa and Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, on Monday advised members of the party in the state to remain strong and steadfast.

Sylva gave the advice in a statement in Yenagoa, issued by the APC State Publicity Secretary, Mr Doifie Buokoribo.

“Despite the troubling times in which we are all living in, APC members and supporters in the state must not lose hope,” he said.

The minister observed that APC’s overwhelming victory in the Nov. 16,  2019 Governorship election that was voided by the Supreme Court on Feb. 13 still hurts.

He said that the party cannot allow itself to be destroyed by that unfortunate incident.

“It must survive it, reinvent and reposition itself for the great task of transforming Bayelsa State for the good of all its people and residents” he said.

According to him, APC remains the strongest party in the state and in the country.

Sylva urged people of the state to remain committed to the party and its Next Level agenda of social and economic betterment.

He voiced his concern for the pains that the people were passing through in this season of COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are all in this together. I share your pains,” Sylva said.

He commended all frontline health workers for their huge sacrifices in the service of humanity, and expressed optimism that the pandemics would be history soon.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: Azaiki donates automatic hand washing machine to Bayelsa Govt

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The member representing Yenagoa/Kolokuma-Opokuma Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Prof. Steve Azaiki, has donated an automatic hand-washing machine to the Bayelsa Government.

This was part of his contribution to support the Bayelsa State Government’s fight against COVID-19, News Agency of Nigeria reports.

Mr Temeoweitari Okidi, the Personal Assistant to Prof. Azaiki on Project Monitoring and Implementation, made the presentation at the Bayelsa State Government Secretariat, Ovom, Yenagoa, on Monday.

He said that the facility was to enable civil servants coming into the premises to wash their hands at the entrance without having to touch the hand washing equipment.

“The machine is operated by a large Duracell battery which powers the censors of the automatic hand washing tap,

“A lever at the base of the machine, when stepped on, activates the flow of the liquid hand washing soap; the large box at the top of the machine holds the water reservoir,’’ he said.

Okidi, said that other contributions of the donor to the fight against COVID-19 included sensitisation and awareness campaigns across the state, as well as giving out medical consumables such as face masks and hand sanitisers.

The donation was received, on behalf of the State Government, by Dr Inodu Apoku, the Deputy Chairman of the Bayelsa State COVID-19 Task Force, who is also the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health.

Apoku expressed his gratitude to Azaiki for his concern and numerous contributions to the Government’s COVID-19 response.

He stated that the government had been doing its best to contain the spread of the disease and assured that the hand washing machine would be put to good use.

“As you know, the state government has been at the top of the fight against COVID-19 and you can see that we have been able to contain the spread of the disease in the state.

“It is my pleasure to receive this donation and I can assure you that it will be put to the best use to strengthen the government’s COVID-19 responses,” Apoku said.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Niger Delta

Boro Day: Bayelsa legislator donates medical items, food stuffs to constituents

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Mr Wisdom Fafi, a member of Bayelsa House of Assembly,  representing Constituency 2, Kolokuma Opokuma Local Government Area,  has donated motorcycles, foodstuffs and cash gifts to his constituents.

Fafi said the gesture, which also included the donation of medical items to health centres in the area, was part of the 2020 Boro Day celebrations in the area where the late Ijaw nationalist hails from.

Speaking during the occasion, Fafi explained that the gesture was because  of his desire to further assist his people during this difficult moment occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and in the spirit of Boro Day celebration.

He described late Maj. Isaac Boro as a selfless son of the area and the Ijaw nation at large who fought for the emancipation of his people.

The lawmaker called on Niger Delta people to uphold the virtues the late freedom fighter stood for.

The lawmaker thanked the people of his constituency for their steady support and urged them to also stand behind Gov. Douye Diri, who he said is determined to play his part in the realisation of the ‘Boro dream’.

Also speaking,  Fafi’s wife, Ebimoboere, stated that the essence of the reach out was to identify with the people in their moment of need and pledged to always stand by them.

She appreciated them for supporting her husband and appealed to them not to relent, assuring that as a family they will always stand by them.

Responding, some of the beneficiaries thanked the lawmaker and his wife for their constant show of love.

Domo Karina who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries urged other political office holders to emulate Fafi.

Motorcycles, foodstuffs and cash were distributed to beneficiaries selected across the constituency.

Also, infrared thermometers were donated to four health centres in the area to strengthen the surveillance for the COVID-19.

 

Edited Kamal Tayo Oropo/Obike Ukoh

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Health

COVID-19: Bayelsa discharges two patients, now has only one active case

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Two COVID-19 patients in Bayelsa were  discharged on Saturday, Dr Inodu Apoku, the Co- Chairman, Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, has said.

 

 

The patients, who were admitted at the isolation centre at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH)  Okolobiri, were linked to the index case that was discharged about a week ago.

 

In a statement signed by Apoku, who is also the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health,  said the repeated tests of the remaining cases linked to the index case  returned negative.

 

“These patients have also met all other National Centre for Disease Control,  guidelines for discharge.

 

“Consequently, they have been discharged today (Saturday).

 

“So there is only one active COVID-19 case in the state after discharging the index case and the other four linked cases,” he added.

 

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

 

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Health

Bayelsa govt. approves distribution of 10,000 facemasks

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The Bayelsa government has approved the distribution of  10,000 face masks to vulnerable residents across the state.

Mr Freston Akpo, the Permananet Secretary in the Bayelsa Ministry of Information, said in a statement on Thursday in Yenagoa  that Gov. Douye Diri approved the distribution of the masks.

Akpo, a member of the COVID-19 Task Force in Bayelsa, said the distribution of the cloth face masks was part of efforts by the taskforce  to curtail the spread of the virus in the state.

According to him, the distribution of the 10,000 face masks is the first stage in a phased exercise targetted at vulnerable persons in the state

He said the taskforce had earlier emphasised the compulsory use of face masks in public places in the state and the observance of all other protocols on COVID– 19.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Dr Inodu Akpoku, the Chairman of the taskforce, said the state had so far recorded six confirmed cases.

NAN also reports that the  index case, a 49-year-old mother and two members of her family, who had recovered were subsequently discharged leaving the state with three active cases.

Meanwhile, the state government has imposed a total lockdown of the state’s borders, except for vehicles transporting food, drugs and personnel on essential duties.

The 8.pm to 6.am curfew imposed by the Federal Government is also in place in the state.

(
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

 

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Health

COVID-19: Bayelsa index case, 2 others test negative, to be discharged

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Bayelsa Taskforce on COVID -19 has said that the state’s index case and two others have tested negative and would be discharged.

It also said that an Abuja resident, who recently came to the state, tested positive to the virus.

Dr Inodu Nathaniel, co-Chairman of the State Taskforce on COVID-19, made the disclosure on Monday in Yenogoa.

He said that over the last one week, 16 samples for COVID-19 tests were sent to the Irrua Specialist Hospital Reference Laboratory in Edo, from Bayelsa.

“Of these samples, 11 were for fresh suspected cases of COVID-19, while five were samples for repeat testing from the confirmed cases at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH) Isolation Centre.

 “As earlier stated, repeat tests of samples were conducted for the index case. The four confirmed cases linked to her are all still on admission at the (NDUTH) isolation centre.

“Two of these returned positive while three (including the index case), returned negative.

“So, the index case and the two others with negative results will be discharged later today (Monday), while the cases with positive results will remain at the Isolation centre for further treatment and observation,” he said.

Nathaniel, who is the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, said that three of the results returned positive for COVID-19, 10 returned negative while three are pending.

The co-chairman, however, said that all listed contacts of the index case, including contacts of the other confirmed cases, had been discharged from self-quarantine after completing the mandatory 14 days.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the new case is a retiree in his early sixties. He is from Bayelsa and resides in Abuja, but returned to Yenagoa in March 2020.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and Ephraims Sheyin (NAN)

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Education

COVID-19: Bayelsa Task Force removes illegal structures at Zarama market

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The COVID-19 Task Force in Bayelsa has begun the clearance of illegal structures at the Zarama market located along Bayelsa flank of the East-West road.

Mr Freston Akpo, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information and member of the Task Force, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

Akpo said that the enforcement was sequel to prior persuasion and engagement with the traders in the market.

He said that the security sub-committee of Bayelsa State Task Force on COVID-19 on Thursday moved into the Zarama market to remove all illegal structures.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the COVID-19 Task Force had carried out a similar exercise and improved the sanitary and aesthetic conditions of Swali market at the state capital two weeks ago.

“The affected structures are particularly those close to the highway impeding free flow of traffic along the ever busy East-West Expressway.

“The move is part of measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the state and enhance a healthy market environment.

“The bushy areas around the market were also cleared and leveled to create a conducive environment and adequate space for the traders to do business.

“The security sub-committee headed by the Technical Assistant on Security, Dr Boma Spero-Jack, will on Friday be at the market to ensure traders move into the 176 unocupied stalls and open area provided for them.

“The protocol measures on social distancing will also be enforced by the taskforce which has earlier interfaced with the traders on the need for compliance to check the pandemic.

“The Zarama market is authorised by the government to operate only on Fridays as traders have earlier been cautioned not to open for business on Tuesdays or any other day of the week,” Akpo said,.

Akpo added that all illegal traders at the Tombia Round-about and adjoining markets are being advised by the task force to evacuate their wares and remove their structures.

He said that no further warning would be issued by the security sub-committee of the task force on COVID-19 in carrying out its responsibilities anytime soon to keep the state safe

He noted that the Task Force had intensified surveillance on the implementation of measures put in place by the state government including closure of the state’s borders to vehicular traffic except vehicles laden with food and drugs or staff on essential services.

Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Defence/Security

Gunmen kidnap 84-yr.-old father of LG Chairman in Bayelsa

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Napoleon Alale, the 84-year-old father of Sagbama Local Government Area Chairman in Bayelsa has been kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

Mr Nikade Anderson, the Press Secretary of the local government area, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Yenoga.

 

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Picture showing the injured vigilante member, taking treatment in the hospital

Anderson said that the octogenarian was abducted from his country home in Agbere community  by the yet- to-be identified gunmen at about 12 midnight on Thursday.

Available reports say the gunmen invaded the community in the early hours of Friday, shooting sporadically to scare off residents, and in the process shot and injured a vigilante on duty.

NAN learnt that the injured vigilante now in critical condition, has been taken to a hospital.

The abductors were said to have escaped with Alale in a boat through the Nun River to an unknown destination.

The gunmen have yet to make contact with the family members of the octogenarian.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, Mr Asinmi Butswat, confirmed the kidnap.

FS/

Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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General news

Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force cautions traders against breach of directives

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The Bayelsa State Task Force On COVID-19 on Thursday admonished traders at Zarama market in Yenagoa LGA to observe social distancing as part of measures to contain the pandemic in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Task Force, during its surveillance function, visited the market to monitor the guidelines of the state government, amongst which was to allow the rural market to operate only Fridays

The Task Force security sub-committee, headed by the Technical Assistant on Security, Dr Boma Spero-Jack, frowned at the lack of social distancing among those doing business at the market.

He said this was in clear breach of the COVID-19 directive that physical distancing must be practised, even as the market operates only on Fridays.

According to him, traders are cautioned to stay away from the market on any other day in the week and not be involved in illegality.

Spero-Jack advised the traders to work closely with the task force by adhering to the various directives, particularly evacuating their stalls and moving their wares away from the highway to the area cleared for them to do their business.

He warned that government would not hesitate to sanction those who violate the directives, particularly on social distancing, as the enforcement team would be deployed to ensure strict compliance.

Similarly, the Yenagoa Local Government Council Chairman, Nimizuoa Uroupaye, who accompanied members of the sub-committee to the market, advised the traders to adhere to the directives which were introduced to ènsure public safety.

In a related development, Dr Inodu Akpoku, Chairman of the COVID-19 Task Force, said that the five confirmed persons infected by coronavirus in the state were  stable and recovering.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the five members of the same family are quarantined at the Niger Delta Teaching Hospital.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

 

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Oil & Gas

COVID-19: Oil firm donates bags of Rice to NATA, in Bayelsa

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Ammasco Oil Company, Nigeria Limited, on Thursday donated 15 bags of 50kg rice to the Nigerian Automobile Technicians Association (NATA), Bayelsa Chapter, to cushion effect of COVID-19 pandemic .

Receiving the rice in Yenagoa, the state Chairman of NATA, Mr Panebi Abalaba, commended the oil firm for the kind gesture in this trying times.

“We are here to receive what Ammasco gave as palliative. They have been giving gifts even before the COVID-19 stay-at-home directive by the Federal and state governments.

“Before now, they have been empowering the automobile association, especially NATA.

“This time, they decided to give us bags of rice without our asking. God will surely bless them,” he said.

The Secretary of NATA in the state, Mr Abdul Eyinfunjow, said that  Ammasco was a partner and friend of the automobile association.

“They cannot do without us, because we are the people to tell motorists the kind of oil that is best for their cars.

“So, definitely if we are sick, Ammasco is also sick, that is the reason they brought this palliative worth thousands of Naira for us in this time  that people are asked to stay at home for their safety,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

 

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General news

Bayelsa Govt. urges residents to discountenance myths on COVID-19

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Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, has urged residents of the state to discountenance mythical beliefs in some quarters, that COVID-19 is not real but a mere ploy by government to make money.

The deputy governor made the call in Yenagoa, at a meeting with local government chairmen, primary healthcare coordinators and other critical stakeholders in the fight against the spread of the pandemic in the state.

Ewhrudjakpo’s media aide, Mr Doubra Atasi, on Wednesday quoted him as urging the people to disabuse their minds of such beliefs and opinions as no responsible government would play politics with the health of its citizens.

The governor said COVID-19 was real and therefore required the cooperation of all to overcome the health and socioe-conomic challenges thrown up by the disease.

“There is this seeming impression that COVID-19 is not real, and that it is a mere ploy to either collect money or do some other activities.

“There are different myths, beliefs and behavior that are still affecting most of our people.

“It’s quite unfortunate. This means there is still lack of behavioral change among our people particularly those in the rural communities.

Ewhrudjakpo identified prevention as the best panacea for the ravaging virus as there had yet to be a scientifically approved cure or vaccine for the novel pandemic.

Responding to the briefings by the participants at the meeting, the deputy governor expressed dissatisfaction with the level of sensitisation and other preventive measures put in place in to contain the pandemic in the rural areas.

“Your response in my considered opinion is not very encouraging. People don’t seem to understand the seriousness of coronavirus, maybe due to the seeming low fatality rate in the country for now.

“The state COVID-19 team reviewed the situation and it was clear that what is happening in the local government areas is a far cry from what is happening at the state level.

“The virus is real, and so, we must all redouble our efforts to curb its spread in the rural areas. We will not succeed in this fight if you show indifference and lack of commitment.

“Right now there is a palpable fear and danger that our neighbouring states have become states of particular interest to the Federal Government. There is therefore need for us to up our game,” he said.

He urged the local government area COVID-19 containment teams to intensify efforts at promoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) safety protocols in their areas, as adopted by the state government.

He also directed the COVID-19 containment teams to liaise with their state counterparts to get their fair share of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other medical consumables for onward distribution to frontline health workers in the communities

Addressing the issue of funding,  Ewhrudjakpo pledged government’s financial support to councils within the limits of available resources through “strategic budgeting.”

The deputy governor explained that funds would be allocated to the councils based on thier levels of commitment to the fight against the pandemic, and not on the basis of equality.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Ijaw youths urge restraint in military operation in Bayelsa community

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The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Tuesday urged the military authourity to exercise restraint in its operations against criminal elements in order not to trample on innocent citizens.

The youth group made the appeal in a statement issued by Kennedy Olorogun, Frank Akiefa, Chairman and Secretary of IYC National Transition Committee.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the military is carrying out an operation against pirates in the Foropa community of Bayelsa, where suspected hideouts were touched.

Foropa is a coastline settlement by the Atlantic coastline in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

“The IYC leadership laments the plight and trauma of military invasion on the predominantly law abiding people.

“The leadership of Foropa community has pledged to cooperate with the military in fishing out suspects to face prosecution. (But) the innocent must be isolated from violent molestation.

“No matter the gravity of offence committed by suspects from Foropa they should be arrested and prosecuted in line with extant laws, the military cannot be persecutor and judge.”

When contacted for comments, Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, told NAN that said troops were only carrying out their duties with professionalism.

“Troops did not molest anyone as no one was found in the house. It is just the pirates’ hideout that was torched.”

Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Gov. Diri extends stay-at-home order in Bayelsa by 1 week

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Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has extended the stay-at-home order in  the state by another one week, with effect from Monday, May 4, 2020.

 

This is contained in statement by the acting Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Daniel Alabrah, made available to newsmen in Yenagoa on Monday.

 

News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bayelsa also adopted the Presidential curfew directive of between 8pm and 6am for two weeks also beginning May 4.

 

Alabrah, however, noted that the curfew directive and compulsory use of face masks in public was not given by Gov. Diri, contrary to some posts on the social media.

 

“The curfew and compulsory use of face masks are in accordance with the presidential directive which are also in force in the state.

 

“Violators risk prosecution from the government,” he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Health

COVID-19: 4 relatives of Bayelsa index case test positive

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Four household relatives of a coronavirus index case in Bayelsa have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total figure in the state to five.

Dr Inodu Nathaniel, the co-Chairman of the state Task Force on COVID-19, confirmed this at news conference on Friday in Yenogoa.

Nathaniel, who is the Permanent Secretary of the State Ministry of Health, said the four confirmed cases were among seven samples sent to the Irrua Reference Laboratory in Edo, forthe test.

He said that the four confirmed cases, who had since self-isolated, have been evacuated to the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital (NDUTH), isolation centre, for management and close monitoring.

The co-chairman, however, said that other samples, including that of a health worker, who provided direct clinical care to the index case, tested negative.

“All the contacts of the confirmed cases will adequately line listed and followed up, including necessary environmental decontamination.

“Samples will be collected from their high-risk contacts, while risk communication and community engagement will continue unabated as usual,’’ Nathaniel said.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Environment

Agency concludes probe of oil spill from Shell’s facility in Bayelsa

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The National Oil Spills Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) says it has concluded investigations on oil spill from Well 13 at Angiama in Bayelsa.

The oil well located at Angiama, a coastline settlement by bank of River Nun, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, is operated by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

Mr Idris Musa, the Director-General of NOSDRA, told the News Agency of Nigeria in a telephone interview on Friday that 43 barrels of crude was discharged into the farmlands and nearby swamps.

NAN learnt that the Joint Investigative Visit (JIV) witnessed disagreements between the host community who accused officials of the oil firm of under-reporting the volume of leaked crude.

JIV is a statutory team convened after any leak by operator, regulators, community and government representatives to ascertain the cause and quantity of oil leakage from oil spills.

The NOSDRA director-general said that contrary to claims by SPDC that the investigation was still ongoing, the agency had closed out the probe and filed the JIV report dated March 28, 2020.

“Joint Investigation was done and concluded. Spill containment was done, oil recovery done while post spill impact and damage assessment will follow, and the JIV report is available,” Musa confirmed

SPDC’s Spokesman,  Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, had earlier claimed that the JIV report was yet to be published on the oil firm’s spills incident portal because it has not been signed.

“The JIV is published after it is signed off and this marks the completion of the process,” Odugbesan told NAN.

NAN checks at SPDC’s oil spills incident website revealed no record of the March 17 incident at Angiama, while other leak incidents before and afterwards were reported on the portal.

The NOSDRA boss explained that the agency found out that the leak was caused by equipment failure and recommended that SPDC should clean up and remediate the impacted site.

According to the JIV report with spill incident No. 2614095, made available to NAN, the oil leak impacted an area of 11,200 square meters and extended beyond SPDC’s Right of Way.

The report was signed by three community representatives; namely Timi Yaro, Hon. Target Isaih Segibo and Chief Noah Biobele, while Owei Boma Blessing signed for Bayelsa Ministry of Environment and three officials endorsed for SPDC.

However, Desi Macline, a representative of Well 13 host community, says that there is a disagreement over the volume of oil spill from Shell fields in the community and they subsequently declined to sign the JIV report.

Edited By: Gregg Mmaduakolam/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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