Connect with us

interview

2023 Election: Why Villagers Must Rise Against Unknown Gunmen – Umahi

Published

on

Share

Mr. David Umahi is the two time governor of Ebonyi state, and the senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), for Ebonyi south senatorial zone. He is also the Campaign Director of the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu campaign organization for the Southern region. In this exclusive interview with DAILY ASSET, he tasked villagers and various community leaders in the south east region to rise against unknown gunmen, to pave way for elections to hold in the region, come 25th of February, 2023 general election, he also revealed his preparedness not to reconstitute Ebubeagu security outfit after election and other issues in the country.

He spoke to Correspondent,
Godwin Okeh .
Excerpt:

What are the plans of the south east governors to ensure that election takes place in south east, especially with the declaration of a sit-at-home by Simon Ekpa?

On the issue of IPOB, you blame yourselves, it was the people that propagated the IPOB philosophy. I fought against the IPOB philosophy in the south east region. I warned about this. These people (IPOB) they get into drugs, they get into adultery and they do not know who is who. God is against adultery, and that’s what they have brought into south east.

You see these people, when they are falled, you will see live tortoise with all kinds of charms hanging on their neck. When did south east man, an Igbo man starts to get into the forest? Starts to kill their brothers, and we will call them an unknown gunmen. What a fallacy? We are talking to our people. These people that do this, lives amongst us. Can they kill everybody? the answer is no.

The villagers must rise, so that there will be election next Saturday. The leaders must rise, so that the election will hold. Even when the opposition got judgement disbanding Ebubeagu, the IPOB celebrated and I saw it on social media. Ekpa celebrated about it. They (IPOB) are working with the opposition. And by disbanding Ebubeagu, four killings happened immediately. If there is no vigilantes, you will be afraid to come out in the streets.

I’m the governor of the state, and I have established two new vigilante and neighborhood watch. And the neighborhood watch is established in accordance with the neighborhood of Anambra state. If you are attacking that, attack that of Anambra state. Then, the Ebonyi vigilante Corp, is established after Amatekun. So, there is no Ebubeagu in Ebonyi state for now. And even when we appeal, we may not reconstitute them till after the elections. But these two vigilante groups are operating now and they will protect the people of the state.

You were the one championing for Igbo Presidency, and now, Peter Obi who is an Igbo man are being supported by others, but it’s like, Igbo leaders are not cueing up behind him?

Igbo Presidency, Yes, very important and wonderful. I believed in that. I contested as the Presidential candidate in fulfilment of that Igbo Presidency, but why didn’t Igbo’s vote for me? Only Ebonyi people voted for me, so when you answer that question, I will answer your own question.

Is it that I’m not qualified?Just because I’m coming from Ebonyi state. Ebonyi man is contesting an election, then Ebonyi man is nobody, but somebody from other South East zone is contesting, it becomes Igbo project. Until you answer me why I didn’t get one vote outside Ebonyi when I contested, then I will answer your question.

Nobody developed Ebonyi state, and nobody is going to develop this state, only Ebonyi people will develop it. Even if an Igbo man becomes President, he will not develop Ebonyi like this. And so, Ebonyi comes first before any other things. We have to struggle to liberate ourselves from the oppression of our brothers and sisters of other states, and this is very important.

And if they said no, let them give us statistics. What we have passed through, before we became a state. Many of them fought against the creation of Ebonyi state. But at the time of God, he made everything to be. And so, go back and answer me, why I did not get one vote? Why Pius Anyim did not get one vote in PDP outside Ebonyi state. I want you people to answer that. Are we second class citizens in Ebonyi state? Are we not human beings? We have served enough. It’s time for others to serve us.

Is there any plan to eradicate the increasing attacks between political parties ahead of the elections?

There is no way a governor will allow a state to be boiling or be entertained with violence. It is very unfortunate and desperation is the problem. I cannot struggle in this state, and I have discharged my callings. I know very well that I’m loved by Ebonyi people and wherever I asked them to go, they will go there.

In the first place, I’m not into struggle with anybody but this desperation is what is leading to these attacks and counter attacks. And if an APC person is involved, you know I have always cautioned them. And in some cases, I had directed some security agencies to arrest them.

As we talk today, there are numbers of the vigilante people that are in police custody in the past one year. Some are facing trails and some have been tried for a fraction. I’m worried that desperation is leading to some of this violence. Just by mentioning that Ebubeagu was disbanded, we had in the past two days that the judgement was delivered, four (4) persons have been killed because I said that we will obey the court order.

Immediately Ebubeagu were disbanded, you can see the effects, we are making everything possible to avoid voilence. My directives to security agencies, no matter who is involved; PDP, APC, LP or APGA, is that if you infringe on the right of the people, you must be arrested and prosecuted. I don’t need voilence to win the elections because we have done very well.

Is there any possibility that politicans in other states in south east region, to come and lean governance in Ebonyi?

If you come to Ebonyi state, not everybody that loves me but at least, 99% of the entire population of the state loved me, maybe because I’m meeting up with their expirations. The other 1% talk I’ll of me, they castigate me because I’m not meeting up with their expirations.

And I think that’s the way it is in other states, maybe the governors of other states are meeting up with the peoples expirations, some of them have the interest of what they can get from our pockets. And you must govern according to the wish of the people. I think the governors of the south east region are meeting up with the yearnings of the people. Don’t forget that we were the weeping child of the region, journeyed from Imo state to Abia state and now we are here in Ebonyi.

We were badly neglected, journeyed from Anambra state to Enugu state and now we are here. We were badly neglected and we are so in a hurry to develop, but other sisters and brothers in other five (5) states of the south east have since been developed. They may not need flyover.

They May not need airport or concrete roads as such. Maybe they have had all these things but we never had it and we were badly neglected. We were badly oppressed. And so, our job is to instill confident in our people. Our job is to develop the state to catch up with other states in the region. Our job is to punish those who do not believe that we can develop. God has helped us. Let me tell you, do not compare Ebonyi with other states, what we have done for our people is purely miracle. You can’t see it in other places, even me I wondered how it happened.

My coming to governance is to do the will of God and instill confident in the people, punish those that never believed that we are human beings and most importantly lift up the love of Ebonyi state, so that anywhere we can confidently say that we are from Ebonyi State. And so, other governors in south east region are doing their best based on the level and choices of their people.

Is the plan to pay gratuity to workers who had retired from active service, still possible?

The problem in Ebonyi state is that, if you are willing to help, people will expect you to do everything, but you will not blame them, if you see all these miracles, why don’t you think that everything is possible. When I came onboard, gratuity was never paid since the creation of Ebonyi state in 1996. It was few selected persons that was given small thing. Like Jesus Christ, the borden of the entire state was heeped on me. Salaries of Ebonyi State University was not paid, gratuity and pension but as at today, we owe nobody pension in Ebonyi state.

We have paid off all those pensions. Then gratuity, we paid over #3billion on gratuity. And I said okey, I’m committed not to leave any dept to my successor. And I love to pay gratuity and I asked them to tell me about the gratuity, and the first time, they said it’s #3billion. And I said, it’s impossible, the balance of gratuity for state alone supposed to be about #2billion.

I told them to setup a larger committee to do it, and they did it. Do you know that a lot of people are earning salaries but they are not workers. Do you know that there are duplication of civil servants earning pensions in many places. What they did smartly is to pay civil servants through pay points, instead of paying them through MBS, which means all those who are living at Onueke, they will go and collect their this thing. That’s fraud. They now did this one and came up with #4billion. Do you need pay points, and so, this thing is not verifiable. And so, I now setup a committee through the deputy governor and they are doing now.

And if they finished today, whatever we get, we will start paying, and so, by God’s special Grace we are committed to pay off hundred percent (100%) of all the gratuity. I will even give exit package to every civil servants in the state before I bow out.

Is there any plan of what to do to beef up the salaries of civil servants, so that they can be happy before leaving office?

You will gain by this question, you can be angry and do not know why you are angry. And by blinding the spirit of God, and the spirit of God, is the spirit of the Truth. Kogi just started paying minimum wage, just the other day. And I know, there are some states that are not paying minimum wage. There are many states that are owning pensions. The question is, am I paying minimum wage? Is there any right of the workers that are denied then?

I’m the only governor that started paying thirteenth months. I’m the only one doing Christmas and giving money to all workers and then give them rice. Ingratitude, can keep a man in a terrible position, because you have to ask yourself, I’m responsible to you? Are you working for me? We have argued about this, and we sent people to go to other states, even Akwa-ibom, we are doing better than them

Are we owing any worker? You want me to pay salaries more than Enugu state. You want me to pay salaries more than Imo state. Is there any worker that his entitlement has been infringed upon? Promotional arrears, have we not paid? These people have decided to be perpetually bitter in their hearts. They did not know why they are embittered. Jesus healed ten persons but only one came back to show gratitude.

When a man has done well, you will be able to say, Oga, I have done well. You don’t fight for privilege. You fight for your right. So, let any worker come here and say, you are owing me this or that. And you know that I fear God. I know that the background of a worker in Enugu state is different from the background of a worker in Ebonyi state. But you have to understand that, if I don’t have good roads and I buy vehicles for all the workers, where will they ply it?

I’m doing what I supposed to do. And I have no apologies about it. If any persons is withheld, let the person come and tell me. It is not because that I want the workers to praise me, when they go to other people, they will come back to praise me. I’m not owing you. And I’m not even shaking that you want me to do this or that. If you put like an entitlement, you will get nothing. But if it becomes a privilege, no man receives anything except if it is giving to him from heaven.

Did you tell me to give palliative during COVID-19, Christmas packages. Find out whether it happens in other states. Some of you have gotten lands, it can’t be for everybody. If another government comes, they will give to those that have not gotten. I borrow money to pay workers before every 26th of every month. No any other states that does that. But when people are bitter, without asking why am I bitter, then you will be castigating the state, de-marketing the state.

When you are doing such, people will be looking at you as a foolish person.there is nobody who has come here, that never pull down their leaders. And my own people are castigating me. I’m doing what God brought me to do.

Are you comfortable with the divisions in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the national level of the party?

I don’t know how you want the party to be at the national level. But I think generally, God wants to do something good in Nigeria. That’s what I see. You know, when people talk about Muslim/Muslim ticket. I always tell them look, when it is a Christian/Christian ticket, governor and deputy, there are places you have Muslim/Muslim. It’s not that ticket that drives performance.

They are just using it to deceive our people. The God of Christians whether we like it, is the God of the Muslims. No Muslim vice president or Christian will stop the killings of the Faith of their people. It is the President and the God Almighty. So, I’m not worried whether there is division in APC or not. If there are no small small squabbles, how do we tell the story.

ReplyReply allForward

Environment

Cross River State Forest Protection Needs Community Support – Egot

Published

on

Share

Dr Martins Egot is Executive Director of Panacea for Developmental and Infrastructural Challenges for Africa Initiative (PADIC-AFRICA), In this Interview with DAILY ASSET Correspondent, PATRICK ABANG in Calabar, he spoke on a wide range of issues Concerning Cross River National Park and Community Forest.

Excerpts

The Federal Government recently gave license to two firms to mine the Cross River National Park, what is your take on this?

Apart from the fact that the environmental organisation is very concerned about the environment of Cross River State and it’s forest communities, we have been in very close partnership with the Cross River National Park for over ten years now.

They have been part of building capacity of our community eco-guards that we train and support to take care of, manage and carry out surveillance and protection of community forests. The National Park has been very cooperative and they have been seeing results from our partnership but this same National Park is being encroached. For example, in Ofumkpa, where this mining activity is really happening, for two years now we have been having joint patrols with the National Park officers, Rangers and the community eco-guards that we put together in Ofumkpa and they have been protecting the forests together. But suddenly, we hear that there is licence given to companies to mine, there is so much disaster in that place and for us, it is very disheartening.

What is your concern?

Our major concern is that for over eight to 10 years now, Cross River state has been suffering from deforestation, degradation and timber exploitation recklessly, without control. We have been fighting this throughout with all our might and it has not been easy because we have lost so much in the forest. We have three forest regimes in Cross River state. These are Community Forest, National Park and the Government Reserve. The community forest and the government forest reserve, which are under community and state government management, have come under serious attack and we are losing them massively. Our hope in Cross River State forest is the National Park, that is why we have the bulk of forest left but if we do not take our time, the experience we have within the last 10 years in the community and government forests, is coming over to the National Park.

As we speak, there are several areas that mining is happening in Cross River State except the National Park. Mining is coming into Cross River State massively and now, they have entered the National Park which is a big worry. If we do not take things more seriously in the National Park, there will be a disaster there and Cross River State will have nothing to show in forest because we do not know how to manage the community and government reserve forests that we have. Government institutions are not helping matters, so that is the major worry that made us make noise and tell people about it in order to stop the anomalies.

Is the National Park fulfilling its mandate?

The National Park Service Act (2006) unequivocally underscore that national parks are sanctuaries meant exclusively for the propagation, protection and management of vegetation and wildlife. Notably, Section 22 of the Act delineates the functions of Management Committees, reinforcing the exclusive dedication of national parks to the propagation, protection and management of vegetation and wildlife.

Section 29, clearly makes an offence for any unauthorised person to go into the National Park without the permission of the Conservator-General. Mining activities are explicitly prohibited in section 30(1) of the Act” which says, “a person who, unless authorised to do so under this Act or the regulations under this Act, carries out an undertaking connected with forestry, agriculture, grazing or excavation or does any levelling of the ground or construction or any act tending to alter the configuration of the soil or the character of the vegetation; or does an act likely to disturb the fauna or flora; or engages in drilling, mining, prospecting or exploration of any kind of natural resources.. Is guilty of an offence.

The National Park therefore has the mandate to manage and protect the National Park and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development should not in anyway, give out leasing rights to any mining company in the National Park and they know this. We are trying to get to the appropriate authorities to ensure that this is reversed as soon as possible. As we speak, it is still happening in Ofumkpa.

What are the benefits of the National Park to the state and the people?

Even as environmentalists, we are not completely in anyway opposed to government making money from resources that they have but we are saying that things should be done rightly. The status of Cross River State nationally and internationally, as custodians of the highest and remaining rainforest in Nigeria, is there. They ought to be ecological benefits, international recognitions and even funding to gain from this. At some point, discussions are on the way to begin to pick community and state benefits for having their forests intact. If we do not show working to show that we are compliant to conservation and protection, then we would lose out of it. Conservation is not completely saying do not make money from it, it is saying let us do it in the right direction and the proper way. We have always told people, timber dealers and community people to do the right thing by ensuring that they know the numbers of trees that they are extracting from the forests and ensure that they are of marketable size approved and following best practices as they would still make money from that. The National Park is a reserve that can give us funds from eco-tourism and we would still have our forests intact at that level.

For the Federal government to designate National Parks, they are for ecological, ecosystem benefits and tourism. Our sons, daughters and people from Cross River state are also being employed and they get salaries being paid as staff of the National Park. 

Some persons have argued that the National Park is of no benefit to the people and the state, what is your view on this?

You cannot monetarily quantify what you have in the forest, apart from the ecosystem services which is life itself. But if you do real tourism projects in the National Park, there is no way Cross River State would not be making millions monthly from eco-tourism. There are lodges and people come in there from different areas and we make foreign exchange from that.

What is the size of the National Park?

Looking at the Ekuri axis, we have over 50,000 hectares that is for National Park and there is also the Oban axis, bringing the National Park to over hundreds of thousands of hectares, even though some parts of this are suffering from encroachment as we speak.

Any specific threat to the communities?

Yes. At some point, we pity them and want to reason with them, even though they are not completely right. I have been engaging directly with the Ofumkpa people, we have been working closely and they have been part of our patrols, listening closely to our conservation debates and discussions and they participate. When this happened, we took them on and they said they are accepting these people because they are promising roads, schools, employment and little stipends for working with them at the mining site. These are the things that really pull and push communities to be part of it and we do not blame them, it is life survival as a community because these communities have no good roads nor schools and the people there are so poor. Our governments that are supposed to be supporting communities with all these amenities, are not forthcoming. Again, the National Park authority that is supposed to be empowered to engage well in these communities and provide for the communities, are actually not doing that. We talk about livelihood but what degree of livelihood projects are we pushing to these community people? We empathise and sympathise with the community people and so in that direction, I will be calling on the Federal and state governments, even international NGOs to intervene. 

As forest communities embrace illegal loggers and miners to enhance their livelihood, what would you proffer as a solution?

If we must succeed in protecting the National Park, community and state forests, we need to engage adequately with community people, ensuring that we know their problems and support them in solving their problems. If we do not look at livelihood very strongly in communities, our fight would continue and we would have a problem interacting with them. As we speak, I hear they are chasing people because they think those people are coming to deprive them of making money from these companies. Going forward, I think government and international non -governmental organizations  (NGOs) should sit on a round table and engage these communities by targeting individuals and households and within two years, be able to check and assess how they have built the livelihood capacity of certain family heads.

These are the kinds of things that would help us win this struggle because the struggle will continue in Cross River State forests.

Continue Reading

interview

Subsidy removal : Kosofe LG distributes food palliatives to 5000 residents

Published

on

Share

Mr Moyosore Ogunlewe, Executive Chairman, Kosofe Local Government says his administration is irrevocably committed to the welfare and well-being of residents and will continue to do its best to positively impact lives in the area.

Ogunlewe made the statement at a programme to commemorate the second anniversary of his administration in Lagos.

Ogunlewe said the distribution of the items, such as rice, beans and yam, and launch of “Kosofe Food Bank“ were part of the council`s interventions to cushion the effects of the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.

“We are launching Kosofe Food Bank to assist our people here in Kosofe with foodstuffs in order to alleviate the burden of fuel subsidy removal.

“When we were given this mandate, we promised the good people of Kosofe
that we would erase poverty and all forms of human miseries and usher in success, liberation and renewal of hope.

“What we are doing today is just a step in that direction“, he said.

Speaking on plans of his administration for the next two years, Ogunlewe said his administration would continue to be about service to the people and would always carry them along in the scheme of things.

The council chairman added that he would fashion out policies to make his administration inclusive and participatory .

“By this, we will make people the centre -piece of our administration, they will be involved in our day- to day management through their suggestions.

“And we shall create suggestion boxes in various wards and area offices for people to air their views, which will help shaping our policy formulation,” he said.

The chairman said that his administration would also hold periodic town hall meetings to interact with the people to know their needs.

He added that the commitment of his administration to reinventing the local government area was irreversible .

“Our administration will not relent in its efforts to ensure that we touch every area of needs. Our construction works took off immediately we assumed office.

“To God be the glory, we have embarked on series of projects such as Primary Health Care Centre at Oworonshoki Ward A in collaboration with Access Bank Plc .

“We have constructed a new customary court and administrative offices.We have also done massive grading of roads at Mechanic Village, Ogudu.

“Education is key and very dear to our administration, and we have made our impact felt in this sector.

“We distributed free 150 GCE e-pins and completed registration for 150 beneficiaries at the maiden edition of in 2021,” he said.

Ogunlewe added that the council distributed 300 GCE e-pins ,1000 JAMB/UTME e-pins and completed registration for 300 beneficiaries in 2022.

In the area of health , Ogunlewe said his administration had procured ambulances to improve service delivery in Primary Health Centres in the area.

“We have also been fueling generators in all Primary Health Centres to ensure 24 hours supply of electricity.

“We have provided toll- free ambulance emergency number : 09093000011, for rapid response .“,he said.

The chairman said his administration had provided 1,900 glasses to people in need and had treated residents with eye problems such as glaucoma and cataract ,after screening.

Continue Reading

interview

Wealthy Woman Faces Prosecution After Serial Beating of 7-Year-old Maid

Published

on

Share

By Prosper Okoye, Abuja

Seven-year-old Angela David has been rescued from her wealthy employer, Mary Mohammed, who had cruelly beaten her every day during the eight months they lived together. This has resulted in severe medical complications that endangered her life.

“The doctors at Adamawa State Specialist Hospital, who examined her, said that one of her kidneys could not be located.

The kidney they did find was infected and her liver was enlarged.
She was also diagnosed with Hepatitis B,” said Farah James, Coordinator of NEPWHAN Adamawa chapter, in an interview with DAILY ASSET.

Obtaining justice for the victim appears to be highly unlikely due to the influence and connections of the alleged perpetrator.

The perpetrator was granted bail after the initial arrest, and the case was unjustifiably dismissed by the Adamawa State police headquarters.

“When the coalition of civil society organizations involved in the case approached the officer on duty to inquire about it, they informed us that they were aware of it but the woman had been discharged and the case file was closed since the victim’s mother has forgiven her.

“When we asked for further details, they explained that they were not the ones who handled the case and the officers who did were unavailable,” Farah explained.

 Angela David, whose parents had separated, was taken by Mrs. Mary Mohammed living at off Abuja road, Yola South, Adamawa state, with the promise that she would send her to school and care for her as if she were her own daughter, as she was unable to have biological children.

“She never sent the girl to school; instead, she turned her into a domestic maid who cleans the house, washes her car, and runs errands for her,” Farah said.

She added, “When we asked Angela if she wets the bed or steals, she said no. that her only offense was not completing her chores on time.

“As punishment, Mary would use a cable to hit her and make her kneel down for extended periods, which resulted in blisters on her knees and disfigured fingers. Moreover, Angela was only fed once a day, which explains her malnourished appearance.”

Angela’s mother said she initially accepted to close the case when she was told by the private hospital doctor that her baby was fine and would recover in time.

She also mentioned that the perpetrator’s family merely gave her some cups of rice, a bottle of oil, noodles, and 8,000 Naira to send her daughter back to the village after she was discharged from the private hospital in Yola.

Angela’s family, along with the women’s civil society group, is seeking justice. They have written a petition to the Human Rights Commission.

Continue Reading

Read Our ePaper

Top Stories

Afreximbank Afreximbank
Business News11 hours ago

Afreximbank Closes $282 million India-focused Club Deal

ShareBy Tony Obiechina, Abuja  The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced the successful completion of a first-of-its-kind India-focussed club deal...

NEWS11 hours ago

Tinubu Mourns Ex-Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu

SharePresident Bola Tinubu has extended his deepest condolences to the Onu family over the passing of Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a...

Business News11 hours ago

Geregu Power Earns N50.4bn From Electricity Sales, Capacity Charges 

ShareBy Tony Obiechina, Abuja  Geregu Power Plc has generated N50.4bn on electricity sales and capacity charges to Nigerians in the...

Foreign News17 hours ago

U.S. not Expecting to be Drawn into War but Predicts Attack by Iran Against Israel

Share The United States expects an attack by Iran against Israel but one that would not be big enough to...

NEWS17 hours ago

Akpabio Mourns Ex-minister, Ogbonnaya Onu

Share Senate President Godswill Akpabio has condoled with the family of Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, the first civilian Governor of Abia,...

Foreign News17 hours ago

Russia Sends Air Defence System, Soldiers to Niger

Share Russia has sent an air defence system and 100 military trainers to Niger Republic in West Africa. Military personnel from...

NEWS17 hours ago

Minister Commiserates with Ex-Gov of Kogi over Son’s Death

Share The Minister of Steel Development, Prince Shuaibu Audu, has commiserated with a former governor of Kogi State, Ibrahim Idris,...

NEWS17 hours ago

Recent Deaths in Movies Industry has Robbed the Nation of Legendary Filmmakers,  says Ali Nuhu

ShareThe Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Mr Ali Nuhu , has said that recent deaths in the movie industry...

NEWS17 hours ago

Dosumu Market: 6 Buildings Collapsed, 16 others Impacted by Fire – LASEMA

Share The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the fire that engulfed Dosunmu Market on Lagos Island led to...

Metro17 hours ago

Home Owners Protest Against Alleged Exploitation by Estate Developer

ShareResidents of Urban PrimeTwo Estate at Ogonbo road, Abraham Adesanya in Ajah, Lagos, have staged a peaceful protest against alleged...

Copyright © 2021 Daily Asset Limited | Powered by ObajeSoft Inc