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IYC Condemns Wike’s Anti-Ijaw Remarks, Demands Apology

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The leadership of the pan-Ijaw youth group, Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, has flayed the remarks credited to the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, against the Ijaw nation.

The President of IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement, issued to DAILY POST on Thursday from Port Harcourt, said it was sad that Wike, while making his speech during the Ogoni Day celebration, remarked that the Ijaw were behaving as if they owned the Niger Delta.

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“We don’t know where he got his impressions from. But whatever he said does not represent our noble ethnic group. Ijaws died in the 2015 elections that saw the emergence of Nyesom Wike as the Chief Executive Officer of Rivers State”, the IYC boss said.

Igbifa wondered what the Ijaw Nation had done to Wike to warrant such public outbursts against the ethnic group that had supported his administration from inception.

READ ALSO: Gunmen Storm Rivers Police Station, Release Detainees

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He recalled that an Ijaw man and former President Goodluck Jonathan; an Ijaw woman and former First Lady Patience Jonathan, alongside other Ijaw leaders picked Wike and made him the governor of Rivers against all other Ijaw aspirants including the ones they promised tickets.

He said: “We are disappointed that Wike could stand on a public rostrum and throw tantrums at the Ijaw nation. His remarks were, to say the least, unfortunate.

“The Rivers Governor should have exercised restraints in his public utterances despite his misgivings against the Ijaw as a mark of respect for former President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife, Patience and other Ijaw leaders, who railroaded him into the governorship seat of Rivers State.

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“It was by virtue of these leaders that Wike first became a Minister and then a governor of Rivers State. His comment is an insult against these leaders and an ungrateful demonstration that he didn’t value the roles they played in his life”.

Igbifa described as wrong Wike’s claims that the Ijaws were behaving as if they owned the Niger Delta following the way some Ijaw persons expressed themselves in public.

But he said: “The governor has boasted time without the number of the powers of Obio/Akpor in the making of the governor of Rivers State making many people view him as arrogant. But is Wike truly arrogant? No, but he is vocal and this is exactly how he should view the Ijaw people.

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“Does that also mean that Ikwerre is claiming ownership of Rivers State? No? We are calling on the governor to change his perception about Ijaw people because we are known for our hospitality anywhere we find ourselves.

“It is wrong for a governor who has always carried himself as a democrat to make such negative remarks against a patriotic nation agitating for the common good of the entire Niger Delta.

“It is the constitutional right of all citizens despite their location to hold peaceful demonstration unless Wike is saying that the constitution has barred the Ijaws from holding protests in Rivers State.”

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Igbifa added: “We want to remind Wike that though the Ijaws have never said they owned the Niger Delta, we remain grateful to other ethnic groups that joined in making the Niger Delta region outstanding. The vocal voice, contributions and agitations alongside our Ogoni, Ikwerre, Urhobo and Itsekiri brothers have been the reason why the Niger Delta has received global attention.

“These efforts are the main reasons for the creation of the NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) which have renegotiated the fortunes of the Niger Delta.

READ ALSO: 2023: IYC Committed To Having Ijaw Govs In Rivers, Delta

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“Our contributions in the Niger Delta cannot be downplayed or wished away through the reckless utterances of any leader. We deserve respect from the likes of Wike whose kernel was cracked by benevolent spirits using Ijaw people hence, His Excellency should be humble.

“The governor should remember that God made it possible for him and if God says Ijaw will be the next in line, His will, will Prevail. Your assertion is contrary to my new year message to Ijaw politicians as I called on them to consult with other ethnic groups in Rivers and Delta with effective grassroot mobilization as politics has gone beyond the ethnic divide. Why will I give such counsel to our politicians if we claim to own Niger Delta?

“The Rivers State Governor owes us an apology for his unwarranted and unprovoked attack against the Ijaw nation. His remarks were to say the least provocative and insensitive”.

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JUST IN: Adeleke Dethrones Three Osun Monarchs, Suspends OSIEC Chair, Members

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke has dethroned three monarchs appointed by his predecessor, Adegboyega Oyetola.

Former Governor Oyetola had appointed several monarch few weeks before handing over government to Adeleke.

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These, including Akirun of Ikirun, Oba Yinusa Akadiri, Aree of Iree, Oba Ademola Oluponle and Oba Adegboyega Famodun.

The former governor also approved the appointment of 30 permanent secretaries into the various ministries.

However, Adeleke in statement signed by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed about 24 hours after inauguration, announced that the thrones of Akirun of Akirun, Aree of Iree and Owa of Igbajo remain unoccupied pending the outcome of a Committee of Inquiry to review their appointments and subsequent installations.

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READ ALSO: Gov Adeleke Warns Against Violence In Osun Motor Parks

According to the statement, the six Executive Orders issued by the governor which borders on reversal of monarchs appointments, appointment and placement of civil servants, employment and freezing of government accounts have been signed this morning and take immediate effect.

“All appointments of traditional rulers made by Osun State Government after 17th July, 2022, are hereby ordered to be reviewed to ensure there was strict compliance with due process of chieftaincy declarations and native law, custom and tradition relating to such chieftaincies. In the case of Ikirun, Iree and Igbajo, to avoid further breakdown of law and order, the appointments of Akinrun of Ikinrun, Aree of Ire and Owa of Igbajo are hereby put on hold pending review. Subsequently, the palaces of Akinrun of Ikirun, Aree of Iree and Owa of Igbajo should remain unoccupied, while security agencies are hereby ordered to take charge.

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“All employments in the service of Osun State Government made in any capacity into any capacity in all the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Commissions , Boards and Parastatals after July 17th, 2022 be and are hereby nullified”, he said.

The Governor, according to the statement, also ordered the reversal of appointments into civil service and directed head of government agencies to embark on staff audit immediately.

“All Heads of Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Commissions, Boards and Parastatals of Osun State Government are hereby directed to carry out an immediate staff audit of the actual number of government workers in their various Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Commissions, Boards and Parastatals, as at 17th July, 2022, and should file a report to the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor stating the full details and position/designation of each of the staff on the forwarded list , within 7 working days from the date of this Executive order using the attached Oath of Fidelity Template.

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“All appointments in the service of Osun State Government made in any capacity into any capacity in all the Ministries, Departments, Agencies, Commissions, Boards and Parastatals after 17th July, 2022 be and are hereby reversed”, the statement reads.

Similarly, a statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Teslim Igbalaye ordered the immediate suspension of Osun State Independent Electoral Commission, OSIEC.

READ ALSO: [JUST IN] Adeleke: Panic In Osogbo As NURTW’s Gunshots Rain

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It reads, “The Executive Governor of Osun State, Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke has directed the immediate suspension of the Chairman of the Osun State Independent Electoral Commission (OSIEC), Mr. Segun Oladitan and the following members of the Commission; Mr. Yusuf Oyeniran, Alhaja Suibat Adubi, Prince Yinka Ajiboye, Mrs. Abosede Omibeku, Mr. Dosu Gidigbi and Mr. Wahab Adewoyin

“This suspension is sequel to several petitions bothering on financial impropriety, dereliction of duty, absenteeism and abuse of office against the said Chairman and members of the Commission.

“Pending the outcome of investigation into the allegations against the suspended Chairman and members of the Commission, the Secretary to the Commission shall hold forth in running the affairs of the Commission”.

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Foreign Creditors May Seize Presidential Jets Over Accumulated Debts

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…Aviation Experts React

Aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet are at the risk of being impounded by foreign creditors, according to The PUNCH.

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Findings indicated that the PAF was indebted to several service providers for various upgrades carried out on the 10 aircraft in the fleet to meet the required airworthiness.

The PAF provides secure airlift to the President, the Vice-President, their immediate families and other top government officials.

However, due to inadequate funding, it was gathered that some installations on the aircraft had again been postponed to 2023.

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The PAF Commander, Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Abdullahi, who stated these in his budget defence presentation at the National Assembly, also complained that only N1.5bn was allocated for the maintenance of the aircraft out of the proposed N4.5bn.

According to report, the budgetary allocation to the PAF had risen by 121 per cent in eight years.

Findings indicate that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had since 2016 allocated N81.80bn for the PAF maintenance and foreign trips.

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The amount includes N62.47bn for the operation and maintenance of the PAF, N17.29bn for foreign and local trips, and N2.04bn earmarked for other related expenses.

The Presidency has maintained 10 aircraft since the inception of the Buhari regime in May 2015.

They are Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or NAF 001), one Gulfstream G550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Siddeley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW101 helicopters.

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Though Buhari promised to reduce the size of the fleet as part of his pledge to cut the cost of governance, checks revealed that his regime had failed to live up to this promise.

However, the National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (retd), delivered the two AgustaWestland AW101 VIP helicopters in the presidential fleet to the Air Force.

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But addressing the House Committee on National Security and Intelligence during the budget defence session, the fleet commander explained that the average age of the PAF aircraft was 11 years and in aviation, the cost of maintenance increases proportionally with the age of the aircraft.

Based on the fleet’s experience, Abdullahi explained that the cost of maintaining each aircraft was between $1.5m and $4.5m, depending on the level of maintenance due.

Additionally, the commander revealed that 2023, being an election year, would translate to more missions and spares’ requests for the aircraft due to increased usage.

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He also told the lawmakers that the N250m approved for aviation fuel out of the requested N4bn was grossly inadequate; reminding them that aviation fuel, which sold at an average cost of N390 per litre in January, was now being dispensed at N915 per litre.

The fleet commander argued that the N8.072bn allocated for the fleet in the 2023 budget out of the proposed N15.5bn was inadequate to cater for the needs of the fleet.

He, therefore, pleaded for an upward review of the budget.

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In the 2022 budget, the PAF proposed N19.4bn, but only N12.4bn was appropriated out of which N11.13bn (98.07 per cent of the total approval) had been released as of October.

Abdullahi stated, “It is pertinent for this honourable committee to note that for successive years, the fleet has been grossly underfunded, which has made it difficult to operate. From the fleet’s records, debts from preceding years are usually carried over into the following budget year and it is becoming a tradition.

“Permit me to also state that most of these debts are owed to service providers overseas. Considering that over 85 per cent of the fleet’s expenditure is forex transactions, the actual budget figure in dollar terms is further diminished.

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“The fleet is currently indebted to some of its service providers due to insufficient funding from budgetary allocations and the situation makes it bad for planning. As stated earlier, we currently have to have some mandatory upgrades done on our aircraft so as to meet airworthiness requirements.”

READ ALSO: Igbos Inaugurate Biafra House In US, Give Reasons

Highlighting the aircraft upgrades that had been paused due to paucity of funds, the air vice marshal disclosed that two of the fleet’s Falcon 7X aircraft with registration number 5N-FGU and 5N-FGV were due for upholstery refurbishment to give the 11-year-old planes a new look.

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Abdullahi added, “They are projected for refurbishment in their next maintenance due in December 2022 and July 2023, respectively, which will cost $2.5m each. Furthermore, the fleet’s personnel and aviation insurance premium for the year 2022 amounting to $5.1m is also due for renewal in February 2023. The fleet may not be able to fund these due to a shortfall in the budget.

“The consequences of underfunding the fleet could have adverse effects on safety operations. It may also lead to our nation being embarrassed in the international community either through seizure of the PAF aircraft at foreign airports or maintenance facilities. Moreover, other states may deny the PAF aircraft necessary over-flight permits for foreign missions.”

The senior air force officer noted that aircraft maintenance accounted for 46 per cent of the overall budget proposal and was integral to the overhead cost, adding that the shortfall in the overhead greatly affected aircraft maintenance activities in the fleet.

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From the releases made so far, 14 capital projects out of 22 line items were said to have been completed 100 per cent, while the remaining eight are ongoing.

In its 2023 overhead estimates, the fleet plans to spend N1.5bn on aircraft maintenance; N256m on international travels; N200m on international transport and training; N96m on electricity; N160m on refreshment; N100m on maintenance of office and residential buildings; N28m on local travels; and N25m on local training, among others.

The fleet commander disclosed that some mandatory upgrades were carried out on credit based on the fleet’s longstanding relationships with the maintenance companies, while others have been moved to the 2023 budget.

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He stated, “This committee may wish to note that the quality of aircraft maintenance conducted is directly proportional to flight safety and its critical importance cannot be emphasized.

“The fleet is mindful of the meagre financial resources in the face of competing national demands. Thus, be assured that this budget is on a need-only basis. Nonetheless, if the fleet is to meet up with its statutory obligation, there will be a need for the budget appropriation to be reviewed upward to meet PAF’s requirements.”

Aviation experts react

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Commenting on the PAF’s indebtedness to foreign service providers, the Chief Executive Officer, Top Brass Aviation, Captain Roland Iyayi, said the presidential jets were seen as sovereign entities of Nigeria, noting that it would be difficult to seize them.

“I don’t know if that will be easy enough; if it was another asset of Nigeria, it is different, but a presidential jet; it’s like saying a country wants to seize the United States President’s aircraft over debt. It is considered an extension of the sovereignty of the state; so, that may not be as easy as it sounds,” he stated

Similarly, the Secretary-General Aviation Round Table, Olumide Ohunayo, said it would be difficult to seize the presidential jets because they were seen as diplomatic property.

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READ ALSO: Controversy Trails Unveiling Of New Currency Redesign

He, however, noted that those who maintained the aircraft could refuse to release them if they were not paid for services rendered.

The aviation expert stated, “Aside that, you will need a top government official or the approval of the court where the aircraft has landed to remove the diplomatic immunity.

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“In such a case, the government of the country where the aircraft has landed will be involved before a judgment can be taken. For a company to do that against Nigeria, it will also need the judgment of that country where the aircraft is. This cannot happen when the President or any government official is on a visit to another country. It can only happen when the aircraft is going for maintenance.”

PUNCH

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Police React To Viral Video Of Alleged Terrorists In Lagos

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The Lagos State police command has called on the man in a viral video alleging that he was attacked by armed terrorists in Lekki Lagos State to show up and assist in investigation into the matter.

A video of a young man who alleged that he was picked from Ikoyi roundabout in Lekki by terrorists in army camouflage had gone viral on social media.

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But the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said the command’s preliminary investigation revealed that the claims were false, urging the alleged victim to show up at the station.

In a series of tweets on his official handle, the PPRO said the command would leave no stone unturned while ensuring the safety of Lagos residents and visitors.

READ ALSO: Why FG Can’t Make Kuje Prison Attack Report Public – Minister

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He wrote, “Preliminary investigations so far reveal that every claim in the video is false. While the investigation is ongoing, we encourage the man to show up to assist the Police with the investigation.

“In-depth investigation has commenced. The Command will leave no stone unturned towards ensuring the safety and security of all residents and visitors to Lagos State”.

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