Category: Economy

FUEL SUBSIDY: Bayelsa Commences Payment of Wage Award, Gratuities To LG Workers, Retirees

Bayelsa State Government has assured that it would kickstart the payment of wage awards to all local government employees with effect from this month (August) to cushion the excruciating effects of fuel subsidy removal on the workers.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the assurance on Monday at a meeting with local government stakeholders including the eight Caretaker Committee chairmen, labour leaders and principal officers of the LGAs in Government House, Yenagoa.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, announced that the state government in collaboration with the local government councils would also ensure the payment of gratuities to council retirees who were yet to benefit.

He informed that government had approved 30% payment of the gratuities across board for the retirees, which would also take effect from this month.

On the wage award, the Deputy Governor, said council workers on grade level one to six will now earn N20,000 as additional salary, grade level seven to ten, N30,000, while those on grade level 12 to 14 will now have N40,000 added to their salaries.

He added that government had also approved N50,000 as wage award to council employees on grade level 15 to 17, while Heads of Local Government will earn N100,000 as additional salary.

His words: While waiting for the reliefs from the Federal Government, we are proposing a wage award for local government employees. And the proposal is that, all local government workers on grade level 1 to 6 will earn N20,000 in addition to their salary.

“Those on 7 to 10 will earn additional N30000, grade 12 to 14 (N40,000), while grade level 15 to 17 will have N50000 as additional salary. The Heads of Local Government will earn additional N100000.

“The Governor has given anticipatory approval but I believe he will give the final approval this week. And will start implementing from this month of August..

“That is why I have always encouraged local government workers to be patient with us. We are very aware of your suffering and the state government will not hesitate to intervene.

“On gratuities, we have also made some proposal, which we want the local governments to support us. The proposal is that, we should pay 30% across board to all those who have retired from wherever the payment stopped to 2022 and one month in 2923.

“Our plan is for every local government retiree to get something at the end of this month (August). The Governor has already approved this. We are only going to raise a committee to supervise the payment because we still have some grey areas to address.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, who commended local government workers and retirees for their understanding and patience, assured that the Prosperity Administration would continue to take steps to address issues concerning their welfare.

On the ongoing data capturing exercise for the computerization of staff on the Oracle Payroll System, the Deputy Governor appealed to the workers’ union at the local government level to be a little bit patient with government to test run the software and make necessary corrections before its full take-off.

Responding to questions raised by some of the stakeholders, the Bayelsa Number Two Man assured that approval would be given for the conduct of the 2023 senior staff promotion exercise due for 2023 to bring them to be at par with their state counterparts.

Signed:

Mr. Doubara Atasi

Senior Special Assistant on Media

Deputy Governor’s Office

Bayelsa State

21/08/23

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Gov. Diri Hands Over New Finance Building to NUPRC

… commends Tompolo for influencing the ADRC to the Niger Delta region

His Excellency, Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa State today handed over the newly built Finance building to the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission(NUPRC) as a temporary office.

NUPRC is part of Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve disputes in oil-producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

At the hand over, Governor Diri commended Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo for, having heard of the relocation of the ADRC, and influencing it to Bayelsa State, stating that, he has displayed nationalism in the highest form to the people of the Niger Delta region.

“This building was designed and tagged as the building meant for the Ministry of Finance and it was completed on record time. And so, the Ministry of Finance was preparing and warming up to pack into their new building.

However, within the same period, I received a letter from the NUPRC requesting an office space for an Alternative Dispute Resolution centre, to be established here in Bayelsa State in Yenagoa, which from all the information we had, was to be centred in Lagos.

And one of our sons, who got to know about it came against it and started moving towards relocating the ADRC to the region where the dispute was originating.

So, I like to at this juncture, commend one of our own very strong nationalists, a very prosperous Ijaw son, Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo, for being one of the strong voices behind the relocation of the ADRC to the centre where you have the disputes.

So, on behalf of the Government and good people of Bayelsa State, send our warm greetings to our brother, who has displayed nationalism in the highest of its form to the people of the Niger Delta, and indeed to the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

Having said that, I hereby on behalf of the Government and the good people of Bayelsa State hand over this edifice to you as a temporary office,” Governor Diri stated.

The delegation was led by Captain Roland Tonlagha, Executive Commissioner, Health, Safety, Community and Environment in the Commission.

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Gov Diri Says Bayelsa Out-of-School Children Figure Alarming – Seeks Parents, Community Leaders’ Cooperation To Reverse Trend

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said an estimated 250,000 out-of-school children in the state was alarming.

He has therefore charged parents, traditional rulers and community leaders to join hands with government to ensure a reversal of the situation.

Governor Diri spoke on Tuesday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital, during the launch of a national campaign on out-of-school children organized by the Federal Ministry of Education.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor said his administration will do its part to ensure that education was accessible to every child of school age in the state and urged parents and community leaders to encourage their wards to enrol in schools.

He said the state government has continued to support free primary and secondary education in the state with the purchase of uniforms and other instructional materials.

Lamenting the number of out-of-school children in the state despite an existing law to check the menace, he implored the relevant ministries to ensure that the law was publicized and implemented to the letter.

He also called on the state House of Assembly to oversight its laws to ensure they are implemented.

Diri commended the Federal Ministry of Education for bringing the campaign to Bayelsa, saying the people of the state and the Niger Delta region will benefit from the initiative.

His words: “A law was passed by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly on this matter in 2018. So, Mr. Minister, Bayelsa State had started addressing the issues long before now. But your coming is key as it has opened our eyes to the level of out-of-school children in our state.

“The issue is mostly about implementation. We have the laws to ensure that our children are educated. This law has to be implemented across all our communities. The Ministries of Information and Education must do all within their powers to ensure that the public is aware of this law and it is implemented.

“It is unbelievable that a law like this was enacted and assented to by a sitting Governor. Yet we have out-of-school children.

“Let me use this opportunity to call on parents to ensure that they take advantage of the provisions of government. There is free primary education. Uniforms and other instructional materials are being provided by government. So, why won’t parents send their children to school?

“As a state, we will continue to prioritize education and have a paradigm shift that will be beyond certificates. We have introduced technical education and by our third anniversary we will commission some of the schools.”

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah-Opiah, said education was a collective responsibility and called on all stakeholders to join forces to eradicate the menace of out-of-school children in the interest of the country.

He said the Federal Ministry of Education has put in place mechanisms to ensure that education was accessible to children of school age and appealed to the state government to continue to prioritize education.

The Minister lauded the Bayelsa government for its investment in the education sector, urging it not to relent.

Earlier, when he received the Minister in his office, Governor Diri called on the federal government to establish more tertiary institutions in the state to enhance and expand the frontiers of education.

He also urged the federal government to release its share of educational counterpart funds to the state.

“As we speak, Bayelsa has done its counterpart funding up till 2022 and now we are eagerly awaiting the federal government counterpart funding for 2022. Help us prevail on the Universal Basic Education Commission to fast-track its contribution to the fund to ensure that our educational requirements are met. As we speak now, we are even prepared for our counterpart funding for 2023.”

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Bayelsa Government to Commence Nembe-Brass Road In April  – Gov. Diri Slams Oil Firm’s Attitude Towards Project 

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said his administration will begin construction of the road from Nembe in Nembe Local Government Area to the Brass Island in Brass Local Government Area of the state in April this year. 

Governor Diri disclosed this on Tuesday when he received the Nembe-Se Congress, a group of the intelligentsia, professionals and other stakeholders from both councils, at the Government House in Yenagoa.

He highlighted the road’s economic importance to the state and country, saying his administration was determined to go the extra mile in actualising the dream of the Nembe and Brass people.

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that attempts at partnering the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC), which has a loading terminal in Brass, through the Federal Government’s Road Infrastructure Income Tax Scheme, were rebuffed by the company. 

He said Agip’s response to the state’s request was disappointing but stressed that the company had nothing to lose because it would have only channeled its income tax directly to its host communities if it obliged.

Governor Diri, who stated that  it is a federal road, explained that he also wrote letters to the Federal Ministries of Works and Infrastructure and that of  Petroleum Resources but only got a favourable response from the former ministry.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Works for his positive disposition towards the project.

He said: “Our government is determined. If the construction of that road will take us three to four years, something has to start and we have notified the federal government through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure that by April this year the Nembe-Brass road will be flagged off.

“We will publicly state the terms of bidding, the cost estimates from the companies, our consultants and our own Ministry Works so that at the end of the day the claim by Agip that this road will run into billions of naira will be disproved.

“I am not happy that Agip turned down our request and I have told them so.”

The state’s helmsman said his government was ready to work with stakeholders to keep the peace in Nembe while thanking the people for their support during the construction and inauguration of the Nembe Unity Bridge project.

He advised those in politics, who he said were often the reason for division, that human life was sacred and urged them to support the Brass Council chairman in ensuring that sea piracy was brought to its barest minimum.

Earlier, president of the Nembe-Se Congress, Prof. Godwin Agein, said the group is a socio- cultural and non-profit organisation with the mandate to protect the interest of the Nembe people.

Prof. Agein thanked the governor for completing the Nembe Unity Bridge.He also emphasised the need to construct the Nembe-Brass road, which, according to him, will open up the economic hub of the state.

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Jubilation as Jonathan Inaugurates Historic Nembe, Elebele Bridges – Former President Hails Gov Diri On Projects

There was excitement in the Nembe communities of Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri as well as in Elebele in Nembe and Ogbia local government areas respectively of Bayelsa State on Monday as former President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated two historic bridges in the communities.

The people of these communities, who trooped out in their numbers, sang the praises of Governor Douye Diri for completing the Nembe Unity Bridge linking Ogbolomabiri to Bassambiri and for constructing the Elebele Bridge, which is also a gateway to Nembe.

While inaugurating the bridge in Nembe, Dr. Jonathan applauded Senator Diri for completing the project, which he noted would help to consolidate the peace and unity between both communities.

He said Governor Diri had performed exceptionally well in infrastructure development in just two years in office.

The former president described the bridge as symbolic and urged the people of Nembe to learn to resolve their differences amicably, especially during elections rather than play politics of brigandage and violence.

His words: “You have done well to complete this bridge project. I had to come and identify with this unique ceremony. Today should mark the end of any inter-communal conflict.

“The importance of this bridge cannot be over-emphasised. From what I have seen, this bridge is expensive, well-built and solid. And I hope it will solidify the unity between the people of the two communities. 

“Politics should be a platform to bring development to our people and not to kill and chase them away from their communities. With the commissioning of this bridge, we pray that that brand of politics would also come to an end.”

Governoe Diri said the Nembe bridge had been on the drawing board since the days of Eastern Nigeria but that a former governor, who is now the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, started some construction work but the project was left till his administration took it over and completed it.

Describing the bridge as historic, the governor said the project was one that would heal wounds and engender peace and unity among the people of Nembe.

“My administration felt this is one historic and significant infrastructure that would help heal wounds. It is not only a physical bridge but a human bridge, especially between the brothers of Ogblomabiri and Bassambiri. Wherever there is war, development suffers and we lose not only infrastructure but human lives.”

Earlier, the former president and the governor visited the Amanyanabo of Nembe, Mingi XII, King Edmund Daukoru, in Ogbolomabiri and Amanyanabo of Opu-Nembe, Ogbodo VIII, King Biobelemoye Josiah, in Bassambiri. 

King Daukoru said the Nembe bridge was symbolic, noting that what it represented far outweighed the physical length of the project as there had been 

age-old differences between the two communities.

He commended Diri for completing projects that he started as well as those inherited from his predecessors, describing the gesture as a mark of true leadership.

He also appealed for the construction of the Nembe-Brass road among others.

King Josiah, on his part, commended the governor for the bridge project, noting that prior to its construction, there had been temporary bridges.

He solicited government’s support for the provision of electricity and pipe-borne water.

Also, speaking to journalists, the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), who hails from Nembe, gave thumbs up to the Diri administration for constructing the unity bridge, saying it was the first time since 1971 that a proper bridge had been built to connect both communities.

Rear Admiral Jonah, who called on  youths from both communities to sustain the existing bond of brotherhood, expressed the optimism that the project would foster more peace, unity and development.

“There had always been the desire that a bridge connects both communities. The first attempt to have a bridge was in 1971 during the administration of Alfred Diette-Spiff (in Rivers State). Since then, two bridges have been constructed – one wooden and the other steel.

“This is the first time we are getting a bridge that we need. There had been issues between the two communities. That is why it is called Unity Bridge to unite both sides.

“For Governor Diri to take this as one of the priority projects on assuming office, it is commendable. We were there for a very long time but we could not summon the courage to do it. He did what we could not do for eight years.”

In his speech, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei, said the bridge was started by Chief Sylva in 2009 but was abandoned until Senator Diri awarded it in 2021 and completed it within one year.

While inaugurating the Elebele Bridge, Dr Jonathan said its construction by the Diri administration was a message to the multinational oil companies that Niger Deltans states were capable of helping themselves.

According to him, Elebele had been host to oil giants, Shell, for decades but it failed to build a solid bridge for the community.

He noted that its successful construction was proof that it was possible to build a solid bridge instead of the temporary ones that Shell previously constructedl.

He applauded the governor for embarking on the project, which he said is of  economic importance not only to the Ogbia people but also the people of Nembe.

Jonathan said: “Elebele has been producing oil for years and Shell has been building temporary bridges every two years. Today, you have saved us. You have not only saved the people of Elebele but also the Ogbia people.

“You have also in a way communicated to the IOCs that we can help ourselves. There is no reason Shell could not build a bridge here but God wanted you to take the glory.

“Today is unique because the bridge is quite important not only to the Elebele people. Elebele serves like an interchange for people going from Ogbia to Nembe. That is why this bridge is so important to all of us.”

Governor Diri stated that he embarked on the project due to its political, economic and social importance to the people of Ogbia and Nembe local government areas.

The Bayelsa helmsman appreciated the community for cooperating with the construction company and the government to ensure the successful completion of the bridge.

He advised youths in other communities to emulate the Elebele youths, who saw the bridge as their own and did not embark on any protest or kidnap workers while the project lasted.

He also thanked the contractors, Paache Construction Limited, for a job well done.

Earlier, chairman of Ogbia Local Government Area, Ebiyon Turner, appreciated the governor for  the project and expressed the support of the Ogbia people for his administration.

In his speech, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Moses Teibowei, said the bridge, which collapsed in 2019, was built within 12 months.

Daniel Alabrah 
Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor

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Sixty Years After, Osinbajo Flags Off Southern Ijaw Link Bridge – VP Commends Gov Diri on Projects Continuity

Sixty years after it was conceptualised, history was made on Saturday as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo flagged off a strategic bridge linking the riverine Oporoma, the headquarters of the largest local government area in Nigeria, Southern Ijaw, in Bayelsa State.

The flag-off, which was held at Angiama community, was preceded by a historic drive on the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, which construction has reached Angiama.

Vice    President Osinbajo   commended Governor Diri for continuing projects that predated his administration, saying the 36km Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road was significant as it will improve the economy of the people and reduce the incidence of sea piracy.

He noted that the partnership between the federal and state governments was working as evidenced in the refund of money spent by the state government on federal roads, assuring that the federal government will continue to support the state to enable it meet its developmental aspirations.

Prof. Osinbajo said the rural communities in Southern Ijaw were hosts to the nation’s oil and gas wealth and therefore deserved developmental projects such as the historic road.

The nation’s number two man said no inclusive prosperity can thrive without linking communities by road and charged the people of Southern Ijaw to take ownership of the project.

He also called on people of the state to support the Governor Diri administration to enable it deliver on its mandate. 

He expressed the optimism that the project would be completed by the governor and urged him to continue to serve the people of the state diligently. 

His words: “Let me thank my brother, Governor Diri, for inviting me to be part of the second anniversary celebrations and the traditional rulers for the title conferred on me. 

“I also bring you warm greetings from President (Muhammadu)Buhari. 

“I am, of course, very excited to join you for this project. Driving through the road, I appreciate the wonderful gift that nature has bestowed on the state.

“There will be no inclusive prosperity without linking communities by road. So this project is very important. We must commend our dear brother, Governor Diri and his team for continuing with this project that has been on the drawing board for over 60 years.

“The partnership between the federal and state government is working as evidenced in the refund of money used by the state for federal roads. We are confident that what your administration has started will be completed at the highest quality. 

“I assure you of the support of the federal government and that you have not been forgotten. Once more, I congratulate Governor Diri and the beneficiary communities.”

In his remarks, Governor Douye Diri described the flag off of the link bridge as significant to the people of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area given the fact that it has been on the drawing board for over 60 years. 

The governor said despite the daunting hurdles and notwithstanding the lean financial situation of the state, his Prosperity Government decided to prioritise the completion of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road in furtherance of a strategic government master plan.

Describing the project as a Trunk A federal road, he expressed the readiness of the state government to partner the federal government to ensure the speedy completion of the project. 

While commending the China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC) for doing a good job so far, Diri directed the Ministry of Finance and its Works and Infrastructure counterpart to release not less than 70 per cent of the contract sum to the firm to enhance its job. 

The state’s helmsman thanked the Vice President for finding time out of his right schedule to flag off the project and described him as a lover of the state and a friend of the Niger Delta.  

He said: “That we are here today is the culmination of the collective prayers, resoluteness and singlemindedness of the people of Bayelsa State and a demonstration of the fact that determination and perseverance can make the most unlikely dream come true. Thank you for joining us to change the trajectory of development of Bayelsa State.

“Interestingly, this bridge project evokes a symbolism that is compelling. When the wonderful story of how a bridge changed the destiny of a people would be told, Your Excellency, your name will be conspicuously mentioned.

“Mr. Vice President, there is a particular symbolism in today’s event. In the same way that physical bridges connect places, collaboration is a ‘bridge’ that connects people and interests. Your presence exemplifies the bridge of cooperation that endures between this Government of Prosperity and the Federal Government. And similarly, it takes time, effort and planning to build cooperation, as it does a physical bridge. We are greatly encouraged by your attendance.

“This Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road project is only one of the few projects by the federal government in Bayelsa State. That this project has been ongoing for 60 long years is a sad parable of the lack of attention that successive federal governments have paid to the region that continues to provide the bulk of the nation’s resources, at severe and sacrificial cost.”

In a welcome address, the chairman of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Chief Nigeria Kia, said the day was one of the happiest in the lives of all Southern Ijaw people given the significance of the project. 

He said the local government, which has over 200 communities, has only about  five connected by road.

Kia thanked Governor Diri for prioritising the project while assuring that the people of the area will continue to support him.

Also, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure,  Mr. Moses Teibowei, said the road was one of the three senatorial road projects aimed at opening up the state and boosting economic activities while also decongesting Yenagoa and reducing sea piracy. 

Teibowei lauded CCECC and expressed optimism that the road will be completed within the specified time. 

The traditional institution in the area conferred on Osinbajo the title of Ebi-akubowei 1 (one who seeks good or progress) of Angiama Kingdom. 

Earlier, the Vice President Osinbajo paid a courtesy visit on the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council where he thanked custodians of the Ijaw tradition for the warm reception accorded him.

In his welcome remarks, Vice Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, King Malla Sasime, thanked Osinbajo for recognising the traditional stool by the visit.

Daniel Alabrah 
Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor

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Ayu Inaugurates Edifice Named After Media Icon, Ikoli, In Bayelsa – Says PDP Proud of Gov Diri

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Iyorchia Ayu, has inaugurated a mega media complex in Bayelsa State built by the administration of Governor Douye Diri.

The PDP chair inaugurated the  Ernest Ikoli Media Complex on Monday as part of activities marking Senator Diri’s second anniversary in office. 

The complex is named after the late media icon and pioneer editor of the Daily Times, established in June 1925.

The purpose-built edifice with 430 offices, 107 restrooms, two restaurants and other facilities houses the state-owned media outfits, namely Radio Bayelsa, Niger Delta Television and the Bayelsa Newspaper Corporation, publishers of the New Waves Newspaper.

Ayu noted that Ikoli was not just the first editor of the Daily Times but a nationalist.

He stated that a part of him most Nigerians do not know was that he was once a journalist and also an Editorial Board member at the Daily Times.

Ayu commended the performance of the Bayelsa governor, saying the party was proud of his achievements in two years.

He said it takes a man of great commitment to do so much in such a short time when some others were still struggling to find their footing in governance.

He said despite the initial hiccups in his first year, Governor Diri stood against all odds and is breaking new grounds through the inauguration of several projects.

The party’s chair described Diri’s performance as the trademark of the PDP governors across the states as they were elected with the mandate to work for the people they govern. 

He said: “I’m very proud of Governor Diri. It takes a man of singular commitment to do so much in a short time. Many of you who have governed states will know that sometimes it takes a governor about a year before he finds his feet.

“Governor Diri came and stood on the shoulders of giants and because the ground was so prepared, he hit the ground running.

“Today after only two years, we are able to come here to inaugurate several projects. 

“Two days ago, the governor of Oyo State called that he was in Bayelsa to inaugurate project. This is how governors of the PDP work. They work for the people. They do not leave their states to stay in Abuja as some of those other parties who abandon their states and become chairman of their party.

“I want to thank all the PDP governors across the country for making the party proud. It is your work that is giving confidence to the Nigerian people that PDP is coming back after staying out of power for about six years. Nigerians now know that members of PDP are determined to serve this country.”

In his address, Governor Diri said because of the history surrounding the state media, the government decided to name the complex after Nigeria’s foremost journalist whose contribution to the profession and the media is acknowledged all over Nigeria.

Senator Diri recalled how some unfortunate incidents bedeviled the state radio station ranging from fire, windstorm and the ugly attack on the station and staffers on the eve of his swearing in by overzealous opposition party members.

The governor said it was the travails of the state-owned media practitioners that necessitated the building of the edifice by an indigenous contractor.

He noted that the complex was one of the humble efforts of his administration and the PDP, stating that he will continue to render service to the people.

He said: “We looked at the history surrounding this complex and from our state here, we had one of the early journalists who became Editor of the Daily Times, and whose contribution to journalism and the media is acknowledged all over Nigeria.

“We decided to name this complex in the name of this veteran journalist who hails from Bayelsa, precisely from Nembe.

“There were situations that necessitated the decision to put up this masterpiece. We had some natural disasters that affected almost all our media operations.

“Upon the pronouncements of the Supreme Court of the victory of the PDP, some overzealous persons came in here and destroyed everything they could lay their hands on.”

Senator Diri emphasised that his government had already approved funds for equipping of the media outfits in the new complex with state-of-the art facilities in no distant time.

He commended the indigenous contractor for proving critics wrong by delivering the job with so much class and on time.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Mr. Ayibaina Duba, thanked Governor Diri for keeping to his words to alleviate the pains of all state media practitioners through the provision of the complex.

Daniel Alabrah 
Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor

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Bayelsa Showcases Agric Potential as Diri, Udom Flag-off Maiden Dry Season Farming

As part of the second anniversary of the Governor Douye Diri administration, Bayelsa State, on Friday, showcased some of its agricultural endowments.

Various farm produce and processed food were displayed at an event tagged: “Made in Bayelsa Agric Product Exhibition” held at the Peace Park in Yenagoa.

The Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief David Alagoa, conducted Governor Diri and his Akwa Ibom State counterpart, Governor Emmanuel Udom, round the stands where different products were displayed.

Alagoa said the state was endowed with agricultural potential that are capable of driving its economy when properly harnessed.

According to him, the state is already producing fish feed from rice bran and palm kernel cake and other byproducts.

He advised Bayelsans to go into agriculture as it is a major source of revenue the world over.

Alagoa said: “One of the things that make up the feeds is the rice bran but nobody is compounding the feeds here. We rather go outside, which does not have 80% of the products in their states.

“What makes the rice bran is palm kernel cake and maize, all from this state. Then you have pockets of soya and groundnuts, which we can also plant in this state. We have the capacity to have almost 90 per cent. The only thing that can come from outside are the vitamins. Even the protein that comes from the fish feeds.

“Bayelsa is richly endowed and we should all try and do something in agriculture.

“By 2030, the size of food and agriculture business in Africa will reach $1 trillion. So if you are thinking on how to make money, this is the sector to be in.”

Alagoa disclosed that rice farms have been established at Akassa, Ogbia, and Yenagoa.

Different items exhibited include palm oil, sea food, rice, ogbono, sugar cane juice, creams and disinfectants.

Also showcased were vegetables, mushrooms, fresh water and salt water fish, among others.

Earlier, Governors Diri and Udom flagged off the maiden dry season farming in the state at Otuasega community in Ogbia Local Government Area. 

The Bayelsa governor said his administration has prioritized agricultural development to diversify the state’s economy and ensure food security.

Diri said his government was focusing on rice, cassava, banana, yam, maize, plantain and fisheries production and exploring the processing and marketing the entire value chain.

He also stated that the government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a consortium of companies under the African Atlantic Gulf of Guinea Fisheries Limited.

He said the deal when operational would generate 4,000 jobs, train 2,500 youths in fish farming and establish a boat building yard as well as fish processing plant of over 20,000 metric tonnes capacity.

He disclosed that the cassava processing factory at Ebedebiri in Sagbama local government area would also become functional in about three months.

Diri noted that in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the state government has installed rice mills at the state-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma, and Federal University, Otuoke as well as provided seedlings to 2,500 farmers in all the eight local government areas.

He said: “Agriculture is one of the pillars of my administration to diversify and remove our people’s focus from oil and gas and encourage them in food production.

“I therefore call on our people, particularly civil servants and political appointees, to return to fishing and farming on a commercial scale for local consumption and export in order to earn good money.”

In his remarks, Governor Emmanuel described Diri as a selfless and pragmatic leader that has demonstrated leadership within two years in office.

He said he is happy to identify with Diri’s laudable projects and his effort to ensure food sufficiency.

“We cannot continue to rely on proceeds from oil and we need to lay a solid foundation to jumpstart our economy,” he said.

Speaking, Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency represented by the state coordinator, Mr. Thickman Tanimu, said his agency has flagged off the distribution of agricultural inputs such as herbicides, rice, yam and other seedlings to victims of the 2020 flood in all the local government areas.

Daniel Alabrah 
Chief Press Secretary 
to the Bayelsa State Governor

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We’ll Link More Communities, Says Diri As Makinde Inaugurates Road Project

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has promised that his administration will construct more roads to link communities in the state.

Governor Diri spoke on Thursday as his Oyo State counterpart, Engr. Seyi Makinde, inaugurated the 4.5km Igbedi community road in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area as part of activities marking his second anniversary in office.

The governor in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary,  Mr Daniel Alabrah, described the Igbedi road as historic as it was the only community in Kolokuma/Opokuma that hitherto was not connected by road. 

The state’s helmsman lauded the people of Igbedi for owning the project and protecting it and called on other communities to emulate them. 

While expressing gratitude to Governor Makinde for honouring his invitation, Diri also commended the construction company, Paache Limited, for the timely construction of the project despite the challenges it encountered. 

His words: “Today is a historic day for Igbedi community, KOLGA and the state. Igbedi was part of the communities that contributed land to build the airport. While other communities have been accessible by road, Igbedi was looking for this day and God has brought it to pass. 

“We like to thank God who has given the administration the funds and will to construct this road. We pray for more money and we will construct more roads to link our communities.

“I thank my brother-governor for coming to honour us. We appreciate you and the people of Oyo State. 

“Let me also appreciate the contractors, Paache. Each time I visited this site, I saw them committed to their job inspite of the security challenges they faced. 

“Let me also appreciate the Igbedi community. They took this job as their own and never allowed anybody to obstruct construction. That is what I expect from other communities.”

Governor Makinde, in his remarks, lauded the performance of his Bayelsa  counterpart in just two years in office. 

He said roads were crucial to development of any society and described as heartwarming the fact that it is the first tarred road linking the community to the rest of the world since its existence for about 500 years. 

Makinde noted that it would boost the economy of the people and usher in development.

The Oyo helmsman further stated that for governors of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP), infrastructure development was a priority and assured that they will not relent. 

While thanking Diri for giving him the opportunity to be part of the history of the road inauguration, he urged the people of the state to support him for a second tenure to enjoy more development.

His words: “We cannot stop Nigerians from celebrating road projects because wherever there is road, development follows. I was amazed to learn that this is the first tarred road that links the community since its inception about 500 years ago. Your celebration is in order and I am happy too. 

“This is not just a road. It means more money in your pockets. This road will encourage transportation of goods and boost other economic activities.

“As PDP governors, we must continue to prioritise infrastructure development. Indeed, it has been two years of development in Bayelsa State and I hope you will support your governor for a second tenure.”

In a welcome address, the Commissioner for Works, Surveyor Moses Teibowei, said the conceptualisation and completion of this road was borne out of a desire of Diri the government to develop the state, saying the duration of the  project was one year. 

In their separate remarks, member representing Kolokuma/ Opokuma Constituency 2 in the House of Assembly,  Wisdom Fafi, and the Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Iselema Gbaranbiri, both lauded the governor for the road project, saying the people of Igbedi will forever be grateful to him.

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Gov Diri Signs N314.4bn Appropriation Bill Into Law

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Thursday, signed into law the state’s 2022 Appropriation Bill, which was passed by the House of Assembly. 

Governor Diri assented to the bill in his office in Government House, Yenagoa in the presence of the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, his deputy, Michael Ogbere, the House Leader, Monday Bubou, other principal officers of the assembly and top government functionaries. 

Governor Diri had in October presented to the assembly the bill tagged “Budget of Sustainable Growth” of N310,717,608,362.

Speaker of the assembly, Abraham Ingobere, however, explained that the original figure was increased by N3,747,410,619.

The governor expressed happiness that the budget was speedily passed by the assembly within the 2021 fiscal year.

He stated that his administration was working towards moving away from dependence on federal allocations by improving the state’s internally generated revenue.

Governor Diri charged those entrusted with the responsibility of collecting revenue to do more to increase the state’s revenue profile from one billion naira to N1.5 billion monthly.

The Bayelsa helmsman appreciated the House for its commitment and called for more collaboration between both arms of government for the development of the state.

His words: “The budget was laid on the floor of the house on October 20, 2021.

“It went through the legislative processes of lawmaking. It has gone through the scrutiny of the eagle eyes of the legislators and I’m happy that I have given my assent to this bill this 30th day of December 2021.

“The total budget for 2022 is as follows: Three hundred and fourteen billion, four hundred and sixty five million, eighteen thousand, nine hundred and ninety seven naira.

“We have to work as a government to move away from dependence on federal allocation, which has characterised our state government over the years. Therefore, I like to charge the officials in charge of revenue collection to ensure that in 2022 we have better figures of internally generated revenue in our state. The current revenue falls far too short of the expectations of the state government.

“As a government, we are prioritising Internally generated revenue as one that must increase under this government.”

Diri urged all Bayelsans to work with his administration for the development of the state rather than engaging in criticisms that do the state no good.

Speaking earlier, the Speaker, Abraham Ingobere, stated that the additional N3,747,410,619was necessitated by the need to include some government agencies and other areas that were not captured in the bill.

He noted that figures presented were achievable based on the key parameters used to estimate the budget.

Ingobere applauded the governor for proposing a people-oriented budget, which he said would satisfy the needs of Bayelsans in the next fiscal year as it captured projects that cut across the three senatorial districts.

The Speaker also thanked the state’s economic team for doing a comprehensive work, which made it easier for them to pass the bill.

Daniel Alabrah
Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor 
December 30, 2021

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