Nicholas Ibekwe

 

As the Nigerian Government grapples with a horrific Islamist insurgency in the North East, an International conflict prevention group has warned that if the Muhammadu Buhari administration fails to urgently address the “long-simmering grievances” and deprivation in the oil rich Niger Delta, the region could soon erupt in violence again.Buhari.

In its latest report issued September 29, the International Crisis Group warned that increasing complaints over chronic poverty and oil pollution as the Presidential Amnesty Programme for ex-militants reaches its twilight, may fuel a renewed rebellion in the region.

The group observed that since the defeat of Goodluck Jonathan, who is a native of the region in March, some activists have resumed their “agitation for greater resource control and self-determination” while some ex-militants have threatened to return to the creeks to resume the armed struggle that characterised the region prior to the amnesty programme.

At its peak in 2009, the insurgency in the Niger Delta cut Nigeria’s oil output by over 50 per cent and was costing the government close to four billion naira (nearly $19 million) per day in counter-insurgency operations, according to the International Crisis Group Read More →




The people of Ogbia Local Government in Bayelsa State, President Goodluck Jonathan’s home council, have described him as a prodigal, who has no balls to call his contractor friends to order and has allowed the community dotted with many uncompleted projects.President-Goodluck-Jonathan

Angry that they have nothing to show for Jonathan’s reign as Nigeria’s president, they have demanded an apology from him for the abandoned and uncompleted projects in the area.

The demand came via a resolution at a meeting Monday by some Ogbia communities who threw their weight behind Comrade Oniekpar Ikuli, the Ijaw Youth Council Director of Mobilisation.From the proceedings of the meeting, it was not President Jonathan alone the Ogbia people have grudges against. Read More →



Jethro Ibileke/Benin


A group of Niger Delta Activists, Civil Rights Lawyers and Non Profit Organizations, have dragged the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Minister of Finance and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), before Justice A. M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Benin Division, seeking an order restraining the NDDC from accessing the 2015 budget appropriation.President-Goodluck-Jonathan

In the case cited as Aigbokhan President, 25 Others vs NDDC, National Assembly and Ministry of Finance, with number FHC/B/CS/21/2015, the Applicants asked the Court to bar the 1st Respondent (NDDC), from accessing the 2015 budget appropriation pending when it releases the certified true copies of documents showing it’s budget outline and expenditure of N309 billion for the year 2014. Read More →



Writer:Taiwo Adisa-Abuja

Niger Delta youths and a group of ex-militants in the region have warned the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari against merging the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a parastatal under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

The youths and 26 groups under the aegis of the South South Mandate (SSM) made the position known after a meeting in Warri, Delta State, vowing that Niger Deltans will not allow their interest to be subjugated and trampled upon by the Federal Government under whatever guise. Read More →



By Yusuf Alli and Nduka Chiejina, Abuja

 


THE President is yet to sign the budget because of some technical errors in the document, The Nation learnt at the weekend.

Goodluck-Jonathan

•Dr Jonathan

But the Budget Office and National Assembly committees may meet this week to “clean up” the document. After the clean-up, the Budget Office will then advise Dr Goodluck Jonathan to sign the document or not.

After harmonisation, the Senate and the House of Representatives on March 15 passed a budget of N4.88 trillion with a benchmark of $72 per barrel.

The vote was increased from N4.65 trillion proposed by the Executive.

It was gathered that although the budget was passed on March 15, the Executive did not get the details until last Wednesday from the National Assembly.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The main bill was submitted two weeks ago, but the government did not get the details until March 28.

“These details were about 3,000 pages and upon the receipt of these, the Budget Office and the Ministry of Finance worked round the clock to analyse the details.

“The Budget Office had completed the analysis yesterday but it noticed some technical errors in the bill as passed by the National Assembly.

“These technical errors have to be cleaned up before the Budget Office can advise the President to assent the 2012 budget or not.”

Asked to be specific on the technical errors, the source added: “For example, there are some ongoing projects in the Niger Delta but no money was allocated for their completion. The funds meant for the projects were put elsewhere.

“Also, since the National Assembly raised the benchmark to $72 per barrel, it means automatically that statutory funds for the NDDC and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) will go up. But the reverse was the case in the bill sent.

“We have many other errors like that which we need to clean up.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “There is no disagreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly at all on this budget.”

Another official in the Budget Office said: “The budget has not been sent to the President for his signature because of some “irregularities” with the budget the legislators passed.

“The irregularities noticed in the 2012 budget by the ministry and the Budget Office had to do with some components of the budget like the administrative capital which the Executive had drastically reduced to free up more money for infrastructure development. The National Assembly retained some of the Administrative Capital.

“Administrative capital deals with the funds in the budget set aside for the provision of office furniture and equipment, which the government believes could be forfeited to make more money available for other serious capital projects – in line with the administration’s desire to deliver on social infrastructure.

“Also, the budget figures for the Legislature were said to have been jacked up by the National Assembly. This does not go well with the Executive.”

Despite these irregularities, the Budget Office official said President Jonathan is anxious to sign the 2012 Budget into law.

The official also denied any friction between the executive and the legislature, stating that “the executive has done its ground work to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between both arms of government”.