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Okuama Massacre: No One Left In Okuama Community – Gov. Oborevwori 

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There is no one left in Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State where Army officers and men were killed, Governor Sheriff Oborevwori said yesterday.

Describing the incident as strange, he said he was unable to reach any of the community leaders.

The governor said he received an update from the military, and that the the situation was under control.

The member representing the community in the House of Representatives, Francis Waive, told his colleagues at the Green Chamber yesterday that his people were hiding in the bush.

Oborevwori spoke with reporters at the State House, Abuja, after briefing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on developments.

The Army put the number of those killed at 17, including four officers.

The officers are Lt. Col. A.H Ali, Maj. Safa, Maj. D.E Obi, and Captain U. Zakari.

The soldiers are Staff Sergeant Yahaya Saidu, Corporal Yahaya Danbaba, Corporal Kabir Bashir, Lance Corporals Bulus Haruna, Sole Opeyemi, Bello Anas, Haman Peter and Ibrahim Abdullahi.

The rest are Privates Alhaji Isah, Clement Francis, Abubakar Ali, Ibrahim Adamu and Adamu Ibrahim.

The officers and soldiers were on a peace mission when those believed to be Okuama youths ambushed and murdered them on Thursday.

More outrage greeted the dastardly act yesterday.

The Senate, House of Representatives, prominent Nigerians and groups called for a thorough investigation.

They want the perpetrators brought to justice.

The Senate, which observed a minute’s silence in honour of the slain officers and men, mandated its committees on the Army, Defence, Air Force and Navy to investigate the killings.

Immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, called for an independent investigative panel to unearth the true nature of the incident.

Bayelsa Governor Douye Diri warned against drawing hasty conclusions on the killings or politicising the situation.

The Urhobo Traditional Rulers and the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) called for an independent truth commission on the killings and the underlying causes.

The Forum of Delta State Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) called for a special panel to probe the incident.

The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) urged the community leaders to expose those behind the killings.

Oborevwori said while his government has met with the military, it has not been able to meet with the community leaders because the place has been deserted.

He added: “First and foremost, the community has been deserted. So, the issue of whether we’ve been able to see the community leaders, no. We’ve only gotten full briefing from the Army and we’re on it because this week the traditional council is going to meet and discuss. I’m going to invite stakeholders. We’re on top of it.”

The governor said a security meeting was held on Monday with the heads of security agencies in attendance.

“We’re on the same page to fish out the real culprits because innocent people will not suffer for it. They have assured us that no innocent person will be victimised.”

Oborevwori said peace and security were key priorities of his administration.

According to him, he had worked with other stakeholders from Okuama and Okoloba to address the age-long rivalry between them.

The governor said: “Since last year, we’ve been enjoying peace. We commend all the security agencies, but an unfortunate thing happened last week. People who don’t know the issues are talking.

The two communities have been having issues for years. On February 7, they were invited by the state government. The two communities – the members representing the two local governments, the council chairmen and the leaders of those communities – were invited.

They agreed to work together and signed a peace accord. This unfortunate incident is very sad because Delta is governed by the tenets of the rule of law and decency. I promised Deltans that I’d be the governor of all and we’ve been enjoying peace. One of my M.O.R.E. Agenda is that we’ll enhance peace and security, and that’s what we’ve been doing.

What is happening now is something that we did not bargain for, but we want to assure everybody that there’ll be no more attacks on the villages. Those who are culpable will be brought to book, but the innocent citizens will not be attacked.”

He said the families of those killed will not be abandoned.

“The people that have been killed, the officers and soldiers – we must see how we can find succour for their families and give them a befitting burial,” Oborevwori said.

 

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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