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Judiciary

Yenogoa const. I election: Tribunal dismisses AAP’s suit

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The Bayelsa National and State House of Assembly Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed the petition filed by the Advance Allied Party ( AAP), for filing its pre-trial application out of time.

The party and its candidate, Mr Tobesime Asiou, in their petition had alleged that the March 9 election for the Yenogoa  Constituency 1, was marred by corrupt practices of vote buying, violence and fraudulent thumb printing.

Asiou also challenged the election on grounds that he was validly nominated, but that his scores were unlawfully excluded from the Declaration of Results Form.

He further averred that if the 43 units where his scores were excluded had been counted, he would have come second place and the votes of the first respondent, Chief Oforji Oboku would have been far less than what was counted in his favour.

The respondents, Oboku, the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on their part replied that the petition contained allegations of a criminal nature without any material particulars and should be struck out.

The respondents furthered said that the petition was vague, evasive, misconceived and should be dismissed for being incompetent.

They further said by the election as collated and declared, Oboku polled the majority of lawful and valid votes cast and was thereby declared and returned elected as the winner for the said election.

The petitioners in their reply to the respondents’ Preliminary Points of Law said the petition was competent by virtue of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended).

The three-man panel, which comprised Justices H.A Offo, H. Mikailu and headed by K.O Wosu however in a ruling, dismissed the suit for failure of the petitioners to comply with pre-trial requirements.

The suit therefore, was dismissed because the petitioners filed their pre-trial application out of time.

The tribunal said the application ought to have been filed within seven days after the close of pleadings. .

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Environment

COVID-19: Bayelsa vows to continue, complete demolition of illegal structures in Yenogoa

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Bayelsa Government on Tuesday said that there was no going back on the ongoing demolition of illegal structures in pursuit of its urban renewal project.

It would be recalled that the Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force chaired by Gov. Douye Diri had in the past weeks  demolished illegal structures at Swali and Etegwe areas of Yenagoa, Bayelsa capital.

Mr Freston Akpor, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenagoa, urged residents to disregard speculations that the task force would be influenced to back down.

Akpor, who is also a member of the COVID-19 Task Force in Bayelsa,  said that a fraudulent syndicate was obtaining money from unsuspecting traders and landlords , while promising them that they would facilitate de-listing of their property from those slated for demolition.

“Landlords and traders in Yenagoa, have been cautioned to be mindful of fraudsters promising to protect their illegal structures from removal by the security sub-committee of the task force on COVID-19.

“The warning is coming against the backdrop of reports of persons claiming they can  influence members of the task force against the removal of their illegal structures marked for demolition.

“Some unsuspecting members of the public, who have already fallen prey to the fraudsters, were allegedly told to pay some amount of money to protect their structures that were eventually removed.

“The fraudsters are apparently taking advantage of the exercise at Swali market, Etegwe and Edepie illegal markets by Tombia Roundabout to defraud gullible landlords and traders.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the task force is not under the influence of any person or group of persons and it takes directives from only the executive governor of the state or his representatives.

“Owners of illegal structures identified for removal will not only be given prior notice but has been  asked to remove them before the commencement of any action.

“The task force has not and do not have any reason to engage the services of person(s) to collect money from anyone on its behalf thus wants concerned members of the public to report suspected fraudsters to the Police for arrest and subsequent prosecution,” Akpor said.

The government advised landlords and shop owners of  illegal structures and unapproved extensions on buildings, particularly on major roads in the state capital to remove such structures to avoid forceful demolition by the task force soon.

Also, traders at Igbogene, Okaka and Opolo markets as well as Opolo roundabout are advised to remove all their illegal structures immediately as the task force would  soon move in to remove such structures as part of the urban renewal plans by government.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

 

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Health

Bayelsa records 9 new cases of COVID-19, total confirmed number 21

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The Bayelsa State Committee on COVID-19 has recorded nine confirmed case among the 307 cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, bringing the number of case in the State to 21.

 

The Co-chairman of the Bayelsa State Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr Nathaniel Inodu, made the disclosure in a statement on Monday in Yenogoa.

Yesterday, the NCDC in its usual manner announced 307 new confirmed COVID -19 cases. Nine of these cases were samples from Bayelsa.

“These results are coming from a backlog of 62 samples sent to the UPTH COVID -19 laboratory last week.

“These nine newly confirmed cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the state to 21. Six out of these nine cases are contacts of previously confirmed cases while three are not epidemiologically linked to any of the previous confirmed cases.

“Two of these fresh unlinked cases are critically ill and were on admission in our public hospitals for other underlying illnesses (one had undergone sessions of dialysis).

”The third unlinked case is a Health Care Professional.

“All nine new cases have since been evacuated for further treatment at our isolation facilities. All their contacts are being line listed and adequately followed up including necessary environmental decontamination.

“Samples have and are still being collected from their high risk contacts while they have all been counselled on self-quarantine. Risk communication and community engagement are ongoing.

“We discharged three cases during the past week. One case was discharged on Saturday, and the two other cases (including the doctor) were discharged just yesterday after all their repeat tests returned negative.

“This makes a total of nine cases that have been discharged from our Isolation facilities. Currently, we have eleven active cases of COVID -19 in the State.

“All cases except the two cases who were previously on admission for other underlying illness are in stable clinical conditions,’’ he said.

Inodu said the state recorded a death last week as the patient who was initially responding to treatment suddenly developed severe shortness of breath.

“All attempts to salvage him proved abortive even with the intensive and delicate procedures that were administered by the attending medical personnel.

“He has since been buried by the Bayelsa State COVID -19 Safe Burial team and witnessed by relatives, friends, and colleagues,” he said.

The Co-chairman said that the State Government Quarantine Facility has since been admitting contacts who were unable to self-quarantine.

Inodu said that they had been very cooperative while enjoying the luxury provided at this centre.

He said that the State Public Emergency Operations Centre (the COVID -19 Situation Room/ War Room of the State response) and the State COVID -19 Task Force were and would remain on REPONSE mode; doing their best to contain and mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“We now use the UPTH Port Harcourt Reference COVID -19 Laboratory. In the past weeks, we have been sending an average of 25 samples daily to this facility.

“Most of these samples are contacts of confirmed cases. Little wonder our positive figures seem to be on the increase. This is because of our robust surveillance activities and improved testing rates.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to all the health care workers particularly the frontlines who have been tireless in their resolve and commitment to the COVID -19 response in the State,” he stated.


Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Health

Bayelsa records 1 new case of COVID-19

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The Bayelsa State Committee on COVID-19 has recorded one confirmed case among the 229 cases announced by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the state to 12.

The Co-Chairman of the Bayelsa State Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr  Nathaniel Inodu, made the disclosure in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Yenogoa on Tuesday.

“This case is a 48-year-old business woman, who resides in the heart of Yenagoa.

“She visited one of our hospitals with complaints of fever, cough, lack of taste and malaria that started three weeks ago. Although she was feeling a lot better, she said she came to request for COVID-19 test.

“The state’s rapid response team investigated her case and collected samples for testing even though she denied any travel history.

“She is not epidemiologically linked to any previous confirmed case in the state. She has since been evacuated for further treatment at one of our isolation centres.

“She is clinically stable and currently receiving optimal medical care.

“So far, she has been our most cooperative COVID-19 patient, volunteering information about her contacts effortlessly.

“All her contacts are being line-listed and adequately followed up, including necessary environmental decontamination.

“Samples have and are still being collected from their high-risk contacts, while they have all been counseled on self-quarantine, risk communication and community engagement are ongoing.

“All other cases in admission at our isolation wards are in stable clinical condition. A repeat test is scheduled for case 8, a businesswoman in her thirties tomorrow. She has been symptom-free since admission.

“The state government’s quarantine facility has since been admitting contacts, who are unable to self-quarantine. They have been cooperative while enjoying the luxury provided at this centre,” he said.

Inodu said the state’s public emergency operations centre (the COVID -19 Situation Room/War Room and the COVID-19 Task Force were doing their best to contain and mitigate the impact of pandemic.

“Our surveillance is gathering momentum by the day and we are testing more cases daily.

“We now use the UPTH Port Harcourt Reference COVID -19 laboratory. In the past weeks, we have been sending an average of 25 samples daily to this facility. Most of these samples are contacts of confirmed cases.

“Let me seize this opportunity to again congratulate Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa for a successful 100 days in office, particularly for his exemplary commitment to fighting the outbreak of this pandemic in the state.

“I also want to express my sincere appreciation to all healthcare workers, particularly the front liners, who have been tireless in their commitment to the COVID-19 response in the state,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

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Education

Group urges FG to establish College of Education in Osogbo

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The Osogbo Development Action Group (ODAG) has appealed to the Federal Government to establish the proposed Federal College of Education for Osun in Osogbo, the state capital, to enable the community feel the federal presence.

The Secretary of the Group, Mr Oladejo Shuaib, made this known in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

NAN reports that the federal government recently approved the establishment of six Federal Colleges of Education in the six geo-political zones.

The newly approved institutions would be situated in Bauchi, Benue, Ebonyi, Edo, Osun and Sokoto states.

Shuaib commended the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for approving the new colleges for immediate take-off, in a bid to increase the number of quality teachers in the country.

He said that the establishment was another landmark achievement of the President’s administration in the education sector.

“On behalf of the Ataoja of Osogboland, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun, Larooye II, the good people of Osogbo commend the incorruptible, fearless and objectivity of the President.

“We have no doubt in your efforts toward moving Nigeria to enviable heights in the comity of nations, especially in the Africa continent.

“We pray that the Almighty God, will continue to enrich you with strength and wisdom in your relentless strives to move Nigeria to its next level,’’ the group prayed.

Giving credence to its request to have the institution located in Osogbo, the group said the town was made the capital of Osun, which was created on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1991.

The state was created alongside Abia, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Kebbi, Taraba, Kogi and Yobe states, in the same year.

“Among all the state capitals in Nigeria, Osogbo is the most deprived and neglected state capital in all ramifications, especially in term of federal presence.

“Since the president’s approval for the establishment of a Federal College of Education in Osun became known to the public, our hope was rekindled that our dream to host a federal institution has finally become a reality.

“Osogbo people are sincerely thankful to you and we are glad to inform you that Osogbo has reserved a site for immediate take-off of the institution.’’

The group, therefore, appeal to the President to consider locating the college in Osogbo.

It pointed out that six cities – Lafia, Gombe, Gusau, Ado-Ekiti, Yenagoa and Abakaliki that are five years younger than Osogbo as state capitals enjoy the presence of federal institutions located there.

“Bayelsa has its Federal Polytechnic and FMC in Yenogoa, Ebonyi has its Federal Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki while Ado-Ekiti had already been blessed with Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti even before the state came into being in October 1996,’’ the group stated.

It added that the federal intuitions in Nigeria were located in the state capitals, while some state capitals had three or more federal tertiary institutions such as Owerri with FUTO, Federal Polytechnic and Federal College of Education all in Owerri; Ibadan with UI, UCH, Federal office of statistics all in Ibadan.

Other states had at least two tertiary intuitions such as Akure with FUTA and College of Agriculture; Abeokuta hosts the Federal University of Agriculture and a Federal College of Education.

“We, however, pleaded with President Buhari, being an advocate of fairness, equity and justice to allow the natural law of equity and fairness take its cause in his choice of location of the Federal College of Education in Osogbo.

“The people of Osogbo would forever be grateful to Buhari’s administration if their hope is restored as they await the declaration of citing of college in Osogbo.

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Abdulfatah Babatunde (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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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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Oil & Gas

COVID-19 : NNPC, oil firms give ambulances, medical consumables to South West states

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The major players in the Nigerian oil and gas sector on Thursday handed over six ambulances and medical consumables to the South West states.

It was part of efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the donation was made by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), comprising 26 indigenous oil companies.

The items donated to Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Osun, Oyo and Ondo states were received in Lagos by the Minister of State for Health, Mr Olorunnimbe Mamora and Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva, said the donation was part of the N21 billion intervention initiative on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.

Sylva said apart from the six ambulances, the states would also get thousands of testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment including face masks, body suits, hand gloves and sanitisers.

He said similar donations had earlier been made by the oil and gas sector in Abuja, Rivers and Bayelsa, adding that collaboration was needed to defeat Coronavirus.

According to him, the gesture will be extended to all states of the federation in line with the mandate of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 within the coming weeks.

He said ground breaking ceremonies for the construction of Infectious Disease Centres in Uyo, Akwa Ibom and Yenogoa, Bayelsa would soon take place, to help the country in tackling pandemics.

Also, Mamora commended the initiative of the oil and gas sector in the fight against COVID-19.

“I thank you very much on behalf of the PTF and I know that posterity will be kind on you for standing up to be counted during this critical period.

”These donations will help fortify our health care system. Nigeria and Nigerians will not forget you for this your noble effort,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the South West governors, Sanwo-Olu said the donation would be used to support the critical infrastructure that was a challenge to the health care industry.

He said: ”I want to assure you that we will put it to judicious use and we will ensure that all the items are delivered to their respective states.

“They will go immediately to the front line and will be deployed to ensure that our people get well and come out of this pandemic alive.”

IPPG Chairman, Mr Ademola Adeyemi-Bero, said the group, made up of indigenous oil firms, was working towards procuring five million face masks, 100, 000 test kits, 12 ambulances, ventilators, beddings and overalls for health workers.

He said the group would also donate one isolation unit in a location to be advised by the NNPC and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), and molecular labs in some parts of the country.

According to him, IPPG members were also observing the health protocols put in place by government in their facilities in order to contain the virus.

Earlier in his address of welcome, Mr Bala Wunti, Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, said the initiative of the oil and gas sector was based on an informed business interest.

Wunti said: “If economic activities are down, there will be no need for oil and gas.

“We are at a crossroad today and that is why the industry made an informed decision to come together to do what is right to help Nigeria mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

COVID-19: Bayelsa govt. relaxes lockdown for Easter celebrations

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The Bayelsa government on Wednesday announced that it would relax its Covid-19 lockdown  for smooth Easter celebrations in the state .

Gov. Duoye Diri made the announcement in a statement issued by Mr Daniel Alabrah,his Acting Chief Press Secretary, in Yenogoa on Wednesday.

The governor said  that the relaxation of the lockdown followed an appeal by the state organs of the various Christian bodies.

“Churches with large congregations  would be permitted to have 50 persons during services while 20 worshippers would be allowed for smaller churches during services.

“All Churches must observe the social distancing rule as well as provide running water and soap for washing of hands.

“And these measures are for the period of the Easter celebrations,” the governor said

The governor noted that  the lockdown would be back in place after Easter to ensure public health and curb the spread of  COVID-19 in the state.

He said the stay-at-home order for civil servants and all other earlier measures had  been extended for another two weeks.

According to him, the measures will  be reviewed every two weeks until the COVID-19 crisis abates.

Diri also said that as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19, oil multinational, AGIP, in conjunction with its joint venture partners had chosen Bayelsa to site its health facility in the South-South zone towards combating the viral infection.

He said he had  directed the Ministry of Lands to make land available for the project.

The governor said some corporate organisations had made donations to the state toward its fight against the pandemic and provision of relief to residents.

He said one of the donors, United Bank for Africa (UBA), gave the state the sum of N28.5 million.

“Niger-Delta Development Commission donated N100 million; Sterling Bank, N100million; and the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company, 300 bags of rice,” the governor added.

According to Diri, the state government on its part has approved another N98 million for the purchase of foodstuffs as palliatives to residents.

Edited By: Buhari Bolaji/Donald Ugwu
(NAN)

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Politics

APC, PDP react to Supreme Court ruling on Bayelsa

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The Bayelsa Chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) has expressed shock over Supreme Court ruling nullifying the election of Mr David Lyon as the Governor-elect for the state on Thursday.

The Supreme Court had ruled that Lyon’s deputy Ereminyor submitted forged documents which disqualified the joint ticket and nomination and urged INEC to withdraw the certificate of return issued to them and reissue same to the next party with the require constitutional spread.

Mr Doifie Buokoribo, the state APC Publicity Secretary told newsmen in Yenogoa that the party was shocked at the development.

“It is a shocking one but one thing that is clear is that the Dickson’s administration must leave tomorrow, there is no room for elongation of tenure not even for one minute.

“It is clear that only APC met the required spread as we won convincingly in five out of the eight Local Government Areas (LGAs), so without that spread I do not see how PDP can make it, certainly the Speaker of the state House of Assembly would be sworn in as Acting Governor.

“Those of them celebrating in the PDP camp are doing so in ignorance,” Buokoribo said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that before news of the judgement filtered into town, APC faithful were in high spirit preparing for the governor-elect inauguration on Friday.

The governor-elect had earlier visited the proposed venue for his inauguration at Sampson Siasia Stadium, where he rehearsed for the ceremony.

Reacting, Mr Daniel Alabarah, Special Adviser to Gov. Seriake Dickson said that the Supreme Court ruling in favour of PDP was “the will of God”.

“The PDP victory is not by our own power, it is the will of God. Many have defected to APC since the election but today, victory is for us.

“I believe the victory is for Bayelsa and not only for PDP. We want all parties to come together and we can move the state forward,” he said.

Meanwhile, workers in the state have expressed unhappiness over the ruling, stressing that they wanted the APC governor elect instead of the PDP’s, Douye Diri.

Across section of those interviewed by NAN said that they would not want the unpaid salaries syndrome that characterised the PDP administration in the state to return.

Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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