Everest Ezihe, Owerri
Ahead of 2023 general elections, Her Excellency Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu has advised Ndigbo ethnic nationality to be wise in their voting as their choices will either make or mar their opportunities for quotum leap towards economic, social and political emancipations.
Ojukwu who’s the wife of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, ikemba Nnewi, the Biafran warlord and leader of the Igbo ethnic nationality said this in Owerri over the weekend during the 11th Memorial Lecture of the heroic but deceased husband organized and financed by the leaders and members of Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign States of Biafran, MASSOB and Biafra Independence Movement, BIM, at Ojukwu Memorial Library, new Owerri.
While calling on Ndigbo to hold themselves responsible in 2023 for their woes noting that it’s a situation like the phenomenal 2023 that great men like her husband would be remembered for their boldness, courage and patriotism of saying the truth and crusading against social injustice.
She likened Igbos to crab that eat it self and described the nation Nigeria as a failed State in all socioeconomic indices.
The Nigerian former Ambassador to Spain expressed dismay on the level of marginalisation of the people of South East geopolitical region in Nigerian projects especially in areas of appointments, economic policies and infrastructural development.
Ojukwu who was persistent in saying that Nigeria system has totally collapsed called for immediate release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as pronounced by the nation’s judiciary.
She called Chief Ralph Uwazuruike of BIM/MASSOB as governor general of Igbo land and thanked him for always remembering her husband.
The political icon recalled that her husband had so many children but most of them she said are political opportunists noting Uwazuruike as an outstanding son with patriotic zeal.
Ojukwu informed that the last and greatest wish of her late husband has been achieved, that’s building of Prince Bruce Marock memorial building which is in the memory of the 17 year old European boy who during the Nigerian/ Biafra civil war burnt himself to death at the front building of United Nations Secretariat as a strategic means of drawing global attention to the alleged gruesome murders, genocide killings, rapes and marginalization of the minority Biafrans by the well equipped and majority Nigerian military government then.
She predicted that Igbos are on a crucial journey to achieve their paradise and no forces on Earth can stop them from achieving their covenant with God saying” no nation that ever holds her people into hostage, will never have peace and that no nation that holds up the dreams of her citizenry will ever prosper and no force nor forces can ever stop the emancipation of the Igbos” she assured.
Earlier, in his speech, Mr. Fanny Amu who chaired the occasion poured encomium to Ojukwu whom he described as a peaceful Patriot.
Amu enjoined Igbos to tow the line of peace in all their endeavors as a means of sustaining Ikemba Nnewi legacies.
Enugu Govt, coal mining firm reach N1bn settlement
…Firm to pay N100,000 tax per truckload
Milhouse Energy Services Ltd, a coal mining firm at Awhum, Enugu State is to pay the sum of N1billion into the Enugu State Environmental Remediation Trust Fund, while also paying a N100,000 tax on every truckload of coal evacuated from a mining site at Awhum in Udi Local Government Area of the state.
The Fund will be transparently managed by an independent committee of professionals specifically for the remediation and healing of the affected environment.
Recall that the mining site was one of the many sealed by the Enugu State Committee on Review of Mining Activities headed by the Commissioner for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. Sam Ugwu, following a crackdown by the Governor Peter Mbah administration on illegal mining sites in the state, including those without environmental impact certification and remediation plans.
In addition, an Enugu State High Court also granted an interim injunction restraining Milhouse Energy Services and African Pits & Quarries Ltd, their agents, servants, privies, workers, among others, from “carrying on further activities, environmental degradation, damaging and interfering in whatsoever manner with the large expanse of land situate at Ibite Awhum.”
However, following discussions with the state government, Milhouse Energy Services Ltd may return to site in earnest following an agreement with the Enugu State Government, which will see the company pay the sum of N1 billion for environmental remediation while also paying the sum of N100,000 as tax per truckload of coal evacuated from the site.
The company had mined and evacuated coal from the site since February 2022 without any payments or recourse whatsoever to the Government of Enugu State.
Sealing the site in September, Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Ugwu said, “While the state is not contesting the fact that solid minerals are on the Exclusive Legislative List, we will not accept indiscriminate mining activities and degradation of our environment. We will not accept that people will enter our state and start carting away our resources without recourse to the Enugu State Government.
“So, we want to see the veracity of the license, which they claim they have from the Federal Government, and we have given them a letter inviting them to a meeting.
“We also want to find out how they have been remitting environmental fees to the Enugu State Ministry of Environment because we will not fold our hands and watch our environment destroyed and lives endangered.”
Meanwhile, the Mbah administration has continued the crackdown on illegal and indiscriminate mining activities with enforcement tour and sealing of a number of other sites.
2023: Ohanaeze yet to choose presidential candidate
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the Igbo apex socio-cultural organisation, says it has not chosen a preferred presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 general elections.
South-South Zonal Coordinator of Ohanaeze youths, Mr Chinedu Arthur-Ugwa, said this in a release which he signed and made available to newsmen in Owerri on Tuesday.
Arthur-Ugwa said that the organisation would make its choice of presidential candidate known in due time if it became necessary.
He advised members of the organisation especially the youth, to desist from politicizing its activities and seeking financial inducement in the organisation’s name.
He further said that the Ohanaeze’s choice of presidential candidate would not be influenced by ethnic and religious sentiments but would be strictly on merit, charisma and capacity of the candidates.
“Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, ably led by our President-General, Prof. George Obiozor, has no preferred presidential candidate yet.
“When it becomes necessary that we choose one and we so do, we’ll make our preferences public.
“We therefore call on members to avoid the temptation to submit to any form of inducement, financial or otherwise in the name of Ohanaeze. This is distasteful as it is unacceptable. As an organisation, our dignity is sacrosanct,” he said.
He noted that prominent Igbo leaders such as the National Women Leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mrs. Rita Daniels, had also warned youths not to convert the upcoming general elections into a money-making venture.
According to him, anyone found guilty of collecting money on behalf of Ohanaeze would be properly dealt with in line with laid down procedures.
Izombe crisis: Panel received over 350 petitions — Chairman
Over 350 petitions were received and treated by the judicial panel of inquiry on security crisis that rocked Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of Imo and other parts of the state in October 2021.
The Chairman of the panel, Justice Fred Njemanze disclosed this when he presented a white paper on its inquiry to Gov. Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday at the Government House, Owerri.
Njemanze said the petitions received included 19 evidences from chairmen, traditional rulers, and some President-Generals of the affected communities.
They also included evidences provided by the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Correctional Services.
The Chairman said, “We could have received more than that but because of some sort of fears which so many were entertaining, including lawyers appearing for them.
“Some of them had to withdraw at certain stage out of fear.
“Unfortunately, the Army refused to appear before the judicial panel despite all we did to bring them.
“The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) also did not appear.
“But in all, we have four volumes of our reports; the first report is the main report where we made our findings and recommendations.
“Volumes two, three and four are the proceedings, exhibits and other materials,” he added.
He described part of their panel’s findings as “man’s inhumanity to man and acts of savagery.”
While presenting the report, Njemanze commended the governor for the opportunity given to the members of the panel to serve the state.
Responding, Uzodimma, who commended the panel for conducting a thorough work in a timely manner, promised to take into consideration, their far-reaching recommendations.
Uzodimma said they would be consulted whenever their services were required again.
He expressed confidence that when the recommendations were implemented, it would calm the nerves of aggrieved persons and restore lasting peace in the area.
The Governor further pledged the continued protection of lives and property of residents in the state.
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