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Extreme bitterness in Niger Delta over Buhari’s appointment of Onochie as NDDC chairman

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There was outrage on Wednesday over President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of his Special Adviser on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, as the substantive Chairman of the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
While some Niger Delta stakeholders welcomed the appointment, others urged the Senate not to confirm her.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan read President Buhari’s letter containing a request for her confirmation at plenary.

The President also nominated others as members of the Board, including Chief Samuel Ibukun as Managing Director for a term of two years to complete the term of his predecessor, who hails from Bayelsa State.

The nominees are Onochie (Delta) as Chairman, Dr. Ibukun as Managing Director, Dimgba Erugba (Abia representative), Dr. Ene Willcox Wills (Akwa Ibom), former Edo State Deputy Governor Pius Odudu, Gbenga Edema (Ondo), Elder Dimaroe Daniya Bofa (Bayelsa representative), Orok Duke (Cross River) and Anthony Ekene (Imo).

Others are Onyekachi Dimkpa (Rivers), Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Abubakar (Zonal Representative, Nasarawa), Prof Tallen Mamman (SAN) (Northeast Representative, Adamawa), Alhaji Sadiq Sami Sule (Kebbi State, Northwest Zonal Representative), Maj. Gen. Charles Ehigie Airhiavbere (Rtd) (Executive Director of Finance) and Charles Ogunmola (Executive Director Project, Southwest).

“I hereby present the underlisted 15 names of nominees as Chairman and members of the NDDC for confirmation by the Senate,” the President wrote.

Soon after the list was read, Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, noted that there was no Delta representative on the proposed board in accordance with the NDDC Act, which stipulates that each state of the NDDC must have a representative.

He urged the Executive to correct the anomaly, arguing that Onochie represents the entire Southsouth and not Delta in particular though from there.

Lawan promised that he would ensure that the Act was adhered to.

Senator George Sekibo (Rivers East), pointed out that the Senate had in 2019 screened and confirmed nominees for the NDDC board.

The apex Urhobo socio-cultural organisation, Urhobo Progressive Union (UPU), rejected Mrs Onochie’s appointment, describing it as “flawed and provocative”.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Abel Oshevire, said her appointment was flawed because she does not hail from an oil-producing community.

According to him, Onochie is a stranger who cannot appreciate the pains of environmental degradation many persons in the creeks suffer.

He said: “Her appointment is wrong. She is not from an oil-producing community.

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NiMet forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from Sunday

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The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has forecasted a period of sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country. According to the weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja, NiMet predicts sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during this forecast period. The North Central region is also expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere.

In the Inland states of the South, NiMet anticipates cloudy skies with spells of sunshine. Coastal cities are expected to have cloudy skies with the possibility of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

Dust haze is foreseen over the northern region on Monday, while the North Central region is expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere. The Inland states of the South and coastal cities are predicted to have cloudy skies with spells of sunshine, along with the likelihood of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. Thunderstorms are expected later in the day over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.

On Tuesday, NiMet forecasts dust haze with a visibility range of 2km to 5 km over the northern region. The North Central region is expected to experience dust haze as well. In the Inland states of the South and coastal cities, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are anticipated.

NiMet issues a cautionary note about dust particles in suspension and advises the public, especially individuals with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions. The agency also warns of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and advises the public to exercise caution. Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany thunderstorms, and disaster risk managers, agencies, and individuals are advised to be proactive during the rainy season.

Finally, NiMet advises airline operators to obtain updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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Kaduna bombing: Senators donate December salaries to victims

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Each of the 109 senators in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has contributed their December salaries to assist the victims of the recent bombing incident in Kaduna that occurred last Sunday. The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, made this announcement on Sunday during a visit to the Kaduna State Government House, leading a prominent delegation of Senate members. The delegation was welcomed at the Government House by Governor Uba Sani. Further information will be provided soon.

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ECOWAS meeting holds in Abuja

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The 64th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government is currently taking place in Abuja, Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria is set to chair the session, which is being attended by leaders from the 15-member block.

According to reports from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), countries such as Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have already gathered at the venue, the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Other member states present include Benin, Gambia, Togo, Cape Verde, and Senegal.

In addition to the Heads of State and Government, the meeting is being attended by the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, the U.S. Lead diplomat for Africa, Molly Phee, the African Union (AU), and the UN Secretary-General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Simao.

The agenda for the end-of-year meeting includes a comprehensive review of decisions and agreements previously made by the body. This encompasses topics such as the adoption of the ECO as a common currency for the region. The regional body will also deliberate on issues such as the recent coup d’etats in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea.

Furthermore, the meeting will address concerns related to climate change, democracy, bilateral relations, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

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