Benue Women Storm Mining Site, Curse Corrupt Leaders (Video) - IReporteronline
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Benue Women Storm Mining Site, Curse Corrupt Leaders (Video)

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Like the Aba women’s riot of 1929 when the Igbo women could no longer endure some excesses of the colonial masters and organized a massive revolt against the policies imposed by the British administrators, the Owukpa women in Ogabadibo Local Government Area of Benue State have continued to draw the attention of the world to their suffering via their passionate and peaceful protest that has now lasted for more than seven days.

DAILY POST had reported that women in the community trooped out on March 23, to protest against the mining of coal deposit in the naturally endowed Idoma community (Owukpa).

The move was to suspend the mining activities owing to the negligence of the community by the miners, as their activities have allegedly exposed the community to unbearable hardship caused by environmental degradation amid lack of basic amenities like motorable roads, potable water, electricity and health facilities, among others.

The aggrieved protesters vowed to shut down the mining site pending when the community is equipped with basic infrastructures to alleviate their sufferings.

The protest, after seven days took another turn on Sunday when the aggrieved protesters thronged the mining site, raining ‘dangerous’ curses on corrupt leaders and other stakeholders who allegedly connived with the miners by taking bribes at the detriment of the community.

The women who stormed the site with green leaves as part of a ritual to make their curses productive declared that whoever embezzled money meant for the development of the community and secretly working with the miners at the expenses of their general interest should quickly make restitution or should face the wrath of God.

According to them, “any man or woman who has embezzled funds meant for the development of this community should come out and confess.

“We have been here suffering for the past seven days, even when the miners agreed to offer us money, we rejected their offer not because we are not poor and don’t need the money but for the growth and development of our community birthed by the love we have for our home.

“Whoever goes behind to receive any money from these miners should be humiliated by God”.

They subsequently buried a potion of the sand in the mining site as part of ritual to neutralise plans of the evil ones.

A member of the community, Ene Ogwuche who spoke with DAILY POST correspondent, lamented the level of hardship in the land despite its endowment.

She said: Owukpa is one of the most naturally gifted communities in Benue State with very fertile land and mineral resources both discovered and the ones yet to be discovered.

“But ironically, the community happened to be the most abandoned in the state.

“We have no single social amenity to point to. All we have are dilapidated primary school structures that are no longer functioning.

“Most times we go to our neighbouring state, particularly Enugu to get medical attentions.

“Many people have died of curable diseases due to lack of health facilities.

“We fall sick easily because we have no potable water. The entire community live on water from the stream.

“We trek for miles because we have no road and these factors make us sick very often, yet we have no hospital where we can receive treatment.

“No road network to allow traders into the community to patronise our farm produces. We produce and we sell to ourselves, yet the miners cannot help us, even to fix the roads they are using to transport the coal.”

Owukpa coal is being mined by the Owukpa Consolidated Mines. It’s not yet clear those fronting the company.

Effort to speak with the site managers and the engineers failed as their mobile lines were turned off.

Recall that Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had in his wisdom set up a committee to look into the matter, but the resolution from the committee had not been made public before the miners returned to site.

DAILY POST made an attempt to reach the Governor’s media team but the effort failed as the CPS, Terver Akase was said to be at an event.

Our correspondent gathered that stakeholders are making effort to reach the government on time in order to resolve this matter before it degenerates as the youths are threatening to embark on another protest in order to stop the alleged illegal activities of the miners.

 

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Okorocha Speaks On His EFCC Arrest

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A former Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has insisted he was merely invited and not arrested by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

EFCC Head of Media, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed Okorocha was picked up from his private office.

However, Okorocha in a statement signed by his spokesman, Sam Onwuemeodo, stated that the EFCC facility is not “a slaughterhouse” and was only investigating his activities while he was Governor, following several petitions written against him.

The statement read, “We have been inundated with calls by media houses and concerned Nigerians and beyond, trying to confirm the reported invitation of Senator Rochas Okorocha by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, later today, being April 13, 2021.

“The truth is that Okorocha left as the governor of Imo State on May 28, 2019. And shortly after his exit as governor, Imo State Government wrote petitions upon petitions against him.

“The EFCC investigated the petitions and has been in various courts of the land with Okorocha to that effect.

“And if the EFCC has decided to invite Okorocha for clarifications on the matters already in courts, especially with a new Chairman at the helm of affairs at the Commission, there is nothing wrong with that.

“The matters between EFCC and Okorocha over his governorship in Imo have been pendent in various courts of the land.

“At the end of the day, we would know whether the Commission will be withdrawing the cases in courts, or would continue with the cases already in courts.

“But to us, the Commission is doing its job and should be given the needed cooperation. And Okorocha being a law-abiding citizen, would always cooperate with the Commission over the matters in courts. EFCC is not a slaughterhouse, but a very responsible institution and should be seen as such.

“We have no reason to complain about the invitation of today, which Okorocha honoured as a patriotic and responsible Nigerian.

“As we stated earlier, the Commission didn’t invite Okorocha today, for the first time.”

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Court Reinstates Edo Commission Sacked By Oshiomhole 13 Years Ago

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The Court of Appeal, Benin Division, on Tuesday, set aside the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission for the past 13 years over failure to follow due process.

The commission was dissolved in 2008 by the administration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.

In a unanimous‎ judgment, the court ordered that the commission’s members be reinstated and be allowed to complete their tenure, which should now run from March 25, 2021, to August 25, 2025.

In the judgment delivered by a three-person panel and read by Justice Biobele Abraham Georgewill, with justices Oyebisi Omoleye and Fredrick Oho as members, the appellate court held that Mr Oshiomhole’s government did not follow the laid-down procedure in dissolving the commission.

In the suit (No B/375/OS/2009), the appellants were Jonathan Aghimien (SAN), T. E. Ogbeide-Ihama, and Edward Aigbanbe, while the Edo governor, the attorney general, and the House of Assembly were the respondents.

The appellants challenged the ruling of Justice Nogi Aifuwa Imoukhuede of the state’s high court, which dismissed the appellants’ claims for being statute-barred.

In his ruling, Mr Georgewill declared that “the dissolution of the Edo State Law Review Commission and consequent termination of the appointments of the Appellants on 24/11/2008, without due compliance with the provisions of the Revised Edition Law of Edo state 2001, by the 1st Respondent, the then Executive Governor of Edo state is null, void and of no effect whatsoever.”

The court set aside the letter issued by the then-Secretary to State Government on behalf of the governor, saying it was issued without compliance with the Revised Edition Law of Edo State 2001.

He said, “An order is hereby given reinstating the appellants to their aforesaid position as Chairman and members of the Edo State Law Review Commission to serve out the remainder of their five-year tenure.”

He added, “Thereafter from the date of this judgment being 25/3/2021 to 25/8/2025 totalling five years in line with Section 7 (1) of the Revised Edition Law 2001 of Edo state, excluding the period from 24/11/2008 to 25/3/2021, unless the appellants are removed in line with the provision of the Revised Edition law of Edo State of Nigeria 2001.”

(NAN)

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Some Of IPOB’s Grievances Are Valid. They Should Be Addressed Squarely – Gov Ikpeazu

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The governor of Abia state, Okezie Ikpeazu, says some of the grievances of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) are valid and need to be addressed squarely.

Some of IPOB?s grievances are valid. They should be addressed squarely - Gov Ikpeazu

The group has over the years accused successive Nigerian governments of marginalizing the South East region and have called for the creation of the Biafran nation.

 

Speaking on Arise TV on Tuesday, April 12, Ikpeazu said some of the “issues raised” by IPOB should be addressed as they are valid.

 

In his words

 

“I have taken my time to listen to some of these issues raised by IPOB: issues about injustice, issues of marginalisation, issues of trust deficits within the polity called Nigeria as it concerns people from south-eastern Nigeria. And I think some of those are valid issues and they should be addressed and spoken to. They should be addressed squarely. So that everybody and those of us that are in government today can have a foothold within the southeast region to continue to promote the unity of Nigeria.

I do not subscribe to the strategy of IPOB in pursuing their goals. And the reason is because I’m yet to see the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing and I do not like to take a plunge in the dark. We must engage and discuss the issue which is bothering them and everybody and we can’t continue to pretend as if these issues are not valid.

Equal rights and justice is an indelible right of all citizens and if through impunity and carelessness we allow a group of people to begin to feel like they’re not rightly represented within the polity, it creates a lacuna where people are no longer confident in the government to protect them and take care of their interest within the polity. There’s bound to be agitation one way or another. Some of these reactions may extrapolate to levels that may undermine national convention and unity.”

 

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