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NSCDC vows to end oil theft, illegal bunkering

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By Amaike Ihuoma Okoronkwo, Port Harcourt

With the rising cases of oil theft and illegal bunkering, which has led to huge revenue loss despite the stringent measures put in place, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, mni, has vowed to put an end to the situation.

He made the vow in a strategic meeting at the Corps’ National Headquarters, in Abuja, on Friday the 26th August, 2022.

Speaking at the opening session of the strategic meeting, with Zonal Commanders, State Commandants and Heads of Anti Vandal Unit of the Corps, across the country, Dr Audi explained that the step became necessary, to put a stop and as well reverse the ugly trend in order to save the economy. He addressed the State Commandants with a marching order to all concerned officials, of the Corps, to buckle up and ensure that the needful is done to halt oil theft without further delay.

He described oil as the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and further stated that since the Corps is saddled with the responsibility of protecting petroleum pipelines and other oil installations, across the country, against vandals and oil thieves, it behoves on personnel, to live up to expectation and carry out this function effectively.

“It is a strategic meeting at my instance. We are aware that as far as the nation is concerned, oil is the mainstay of the economy and the massive oil theft and illegal bunkering, in the country is alarming. It is in this direction that I have summoned all the high ranking officers of the Corps, to this meeting, for us to sit up and come up with ways of tackling this menace creating problems for us,” he stated.

Audi who also read the Riot Act warned some officers of the command and other personnel on the dangers of conniving with vandals and oil thieves to carry out such dastardly act and made it categorically clear that any officer caught will not be spared.

He expressed concern that as the lead agency, in the protection of Critical National Assets and Infrastructure, the Corps must help government to generate more revenue.

He tasked the officers to check their excesses, inappropriate behaviours and warned that his administration will not condone any form of compromise or unethical behaviours, from personnel deployed to prevent oil theft and illegal bunkering.

“Some people believe that security agencies are part of oil theft in the country, but we must do what is necessary to redeem our image.

“There are indications that some of the Anti-Vandal Units in some State Commands have been found wanting, in the discharge of their duties as the Corps’ Management, has received reports of irresponsibility and connivance on the part of some of them.

“This dangerous and rather unfortunate development which the Management frowns at, is inimical to the image the Corps has built over the years. Let me state categorically that the Corps’ Management, will not condone any act that could impugn on the integrity of the Corps. The importance of this meeting is therefore, to draw your attention to some of these observed lapses and shortcomings, in the operations of the Anti-vandal Squad and the need for a total reorganization and overhauling of the entire Anti-vandal Units across board, to reposition the Unit for better performance.”

He went further to say that heads of Anti-vandal Units, are expected to display high sense of responsibility, commitment, loyalty and dedication to duty.

“Let me sound this note of warning that the Corps has no space for mediocrity, laziness, non-chalance, incompetence and will therefore, not hesitate to appropriately, deal with any officer found wanting in the discharge of his duties.

“You must therefore, go back to your various State Commands and redouble your efforts to re-invigorate, re-engineer and reposition your various Anti-vandal Squads for better performance, to justify the confidence reposed, in the Corps, by Government and the good people of this great Country.

“Members of the Anti-vandal Squad must re-dedicate themselves, to our collective goal and objective, to curb and checkmate crime and eradicate incidences of oil theft/oil bunkering and vandalization of oil pipelines and other Critical National Assets and Infrastructure (CNAI).”

He added that the Management of the Corps, has commenced discreet investigation into the activities of the Anti-Vandal Squads, across the States while those found culpable in any act of criminal connivance capable of damaging the image of the Corps will be severely sanctioned to serve as deterrent to others.

“Let me also assure you that those, who have shown a high sense of responsibility, diligence, competence and commitment, in the discharge of their duties will be rewarded accordingly, through the reward system already emplaced by the Corps’ Management,” he declared.

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Ortom urges Alia to work with SGF for more democracy dividends in Benue

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By Titus Atondu, Makurdi

The former Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom, has called on his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia to work in synergy  with the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF), Sen George Akume for sustainable democracy dividends to the state.

 Ortom made the call in Makurdi  while speaking at the public lecture organised by his former aides on the occasion of his 63rd birthday.

Ortom described Sen George Akume as a true father, his leader and mentor and attributed all his achievements in life to the SGF.

He  also thanked Governor Hyacinth Alia for his good will message on his birthday and warned that Benue state has not had the position of SGF in the past and called on Governor Alia to embrace and work with him to enable the state to benefit from the position.

“Benue is our state, we have no other state and no one will come from anywhere to bring peace to Benue.

“Alia must sheathe his sword and find ways to work with the SGF so that all of us can enjoy the dividends of that position,” Ortom maintained.

He noted that elections were conducted and won, litigation were entered and God gave him victory saying, “It is his responsibility to do the needful so that Benue state will be at peace.”

Ortom expressed worry  that Benue is under siege and the governor alone or the SGF and himself cannot fight it alone without working collectively. He therefore noted that, “We are available if we are called upon to support or add value to the peace efforts of the government so that our people can live and enjoy the dividends of democracy.”

He  enjoined Benue people to pray for their leaders, Ortom said, “If I had my way, I would have given everyone the opportunity to be the Governor even in a few days.

“The challenges are enormous. You would not understand the challenges we go through but when you are there, you will understand the issues better.

“Nigeria is passing through very difficult times and that was what I was fighting against and I’m happy that people appreciated what we were doing,” he explained.

He appreciated his former appointees for organising the celebration of his 63 birthday anniversary in his honour.

“I’m very humbled by this special lecture on my 63 birthday celebration. This is not my first but this is the first time I’m witnessing a lecture and I must say that I’m pleased and enriched with all that was said here.

“I was taken unawares. You have made me know that I am appreciated. I thought I was used and dumped. I’m grateful to God for the eight years in office. I did everything with the fear of God, with equity, justice and fairness.

“I must have stepped on toes and those I know and those I didn’t know, I ask for forgiveness. I am humbled by this programme and further encouraged by your presence, kind words and prayers,” Ortom testified.

Guest Lecturer, Prof Samuel Aghalino, in the department of History and International Studies, University of Ilorin who is also the President Historical Society of Nigeria said, “Ortom was that Governor with a face cap. Anyone with a face cap is a revolutionary.

“Ortom played a significant role in extending politics beyond the borders of the state.

“He is one of the few politicians that stood in defense of his people, and was passionate in standing for human value while also demonstrating uncommon leadership.

“He was committed to the wellbeing of his people and stood vehemently, against the then government for murdering justice, fairness, equity and accountability, adding that Ortom expressed a rare readiness to cooperate with the investigations.

“He was a servant leader at a great cost to himself. At a time, during the Buhari administration, the doors of Aso Rock, the seat of power was shut against him for speaking the truth to power and holding the powerful accountable. I wonder how he survived.

“Ortom believes that politicians do not have to strive to be perfect to provide good governance to the people because only God is perfect. In his mind, you only have to love the people, therefore when it comes to democratic considerations, Ortom represents the school of thought that existence must take precedence over essence in governance.”

He said Ortom will be remembered by his people for the numerous things he has done and still doing.

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that the lecture was graced by prominent personalities like the former Attorney General of the federation and minister of Justice, Mike Aondakaa, Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly, Gabriel Dewan, Member representing Apa-Agatu Federal Constituency, Pastor, Ojotu Ojema, Former Deputy Governor, Engr Benson Abounu, representatives of the Tor Tiv, Professor James Ayatse, Ter Gwer Dominic Akpete, the Ochidoma, Ogabaidu John Elaigwu represented by Dr Chris Ijale among others

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Katsina Gov. tasks corps members on nation building, cultism

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By Matthew Denis

The Governor of Katsina State, Mallam Dikko Umaru Radda has tasked National Youth Service Corps members deployed to the State for the one year national service to strive towards nation building.

This is contained in a statement signed by Director, Press and Public Relations, Eddy Megwa, to the governor and made available to journalists on Wednesday.

He also lauded the immense contributions of successive batches of corps members to the socio-economic development of Katsina State over the years, especially through corps members community development service projects and also increasing the manpower needs in schools and in the industrial sector across the State.

Governor Raddah disclosed this at the NYSC Katsina State Orientation Camp, while speaking through his Deputy, Alhaji Farouk Lawal Jobe during the swearing-in ceremony of the prospective corps members deployed to the State.

The Governor urged the corps members to embrace the opportunities of the orientation course to prepare themselves for leadership responsibilities.

“I challenge you to live up to the standard already set by your predecessors. It is my belief that the orientation lectures will stimulate you to strive for the socio-economic development of our country.

“I urge you to see the opportunity of your call to service as a rare opportunity and your commitment to the Oath of Allegiance to your fatherland”, he said.

He also advised the corps members to shun cultism, political and religious intolerance with other forms of anti-social behaviour.

The NYSC Katsina State Coordinator, Hajiya Aisha Muhammad in her address stated that the orientation course is the first among the cardinal programmes of the NYSC, which was designed to prepare corps members for the challenges of the service year and beyond.

She added that the orientation course, which is a regimented environment has over the years been able to inculcate in the youth, the spirit of positive citizenship, leadership values including the ideals of commitment to national assignment, patriotism, integrity, diligence and loyalty to the fatherland.

“I enjoin you to obey all camp rules and regulations as any erring corps member will be referred to the Camp court for appropriate sanctions in line with the provision of the NYSC by-laws,” She added.

The Coordinator also said a total of 1,410 prospective corps members comprising 715 males and 695 females were deployed to the State.

The Director General of National Youth Service Corps, Brigadier General YD Ahmed who was among the dignitaries that witnessed the swearing-in ceremony earlier in the day implored the corps members to take full advantage of the NYSC Skills Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED) programme and acquire at least a skill while in camp.

The DG added that skills acquisition is the remedy to the increasing youth unemployment in the country.

General Ahmed who urged the corps members to be security conscious at all times also advised them to obey the cultural beliefs of their host communities.

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Poisonous meat: KWSG buries confiscated meat

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By Saka Laaro, Ilorin

The Kwara State Government yesterday buried all confiscated meat from the poisonous animals slaughtered for public consumption around the Kwara State College of Arabic and Islamic Legal Studies (CAILS) in Ilorin.

This follows several measures already put in place to prevent people from consuming the suspected meat from the poisonous animals in the state.

In a statement released by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Funke Sokoya recalled that the State Government through the collaborative efforts of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Environment, and the State Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with other concerned stakeholders, including the Iyaloja of Mandate Market, all agreed to suspend slaughtering activities for three consecutive days beginning from Monday, to allow for proper fumigation of the slaughter slab against any residual effect.

Meanwhile, a preliminary investigation on the incident shows that the cause of the ugly incident was as a result of grazing on contaminated grasses around the area.

According to the statement, the Ministry of Agriculture would intensify its surveillance at different abattoirs in the state, especially the private and government abattoirs.

In his submission, the Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Olugbon Abdullateef Saliman said, “Private slaughter slabs as it is going, will have to reduce their number to the level that the Ministry could manage. Any slaughter slab that the meat is not  inspected will not be allowed to go out. If the slaughter slab is not following our standard it will be closed down, and those closed down will be directed to the government slaughter slabs.

“Any private slaughter slab that is close to the government slab will be directed to go and slaughter at the government slaughter slabs. By this standard, we will be able to monitor what they slaughter and give to the populace,” the statement added.

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