Government House Accountant in Bayelsa State, Ritchie Etonye, said he was not at home when a team of policemen numbering about 50 invaded his house on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, and therefore could not have absconded.
He also said that contrary to reports, no money was found in his house while, “it is not true that any money belonging to the governor was stolen.”
Etonye in a clarification statement issued on Sunday night entitled: “Forceful Invasion of My Home – My Story”, said he has instructed his lawyers to sue the Nigerian police and an online portal, Sahara Reporters for damages.
The statement reads: “My name is Ritchie Etonye of Brass Road, Azibiogbolo, Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State. I am a hard working civil servant and currently works with the Governor of Bayelsa State as Government House Accountant.
“My house was invaded and ransacked on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 by a team of policemen numbering 50 and in the process, valuable property worth millions of naira were damaged.
“I was not in Bayelsa when the incident occurred. In fact I travelled out of the state with the governor on official assignment to Akure where my boss, Governor Dickson was the chairman of the PDP Committee that conducted the governorship primaries in Ondo State before leaving for Abuja for an official engagement.
“Contrary to reports in the media, it is not true that any money belonging to the governor was stolen and clearly I couldn’t have absconded because I was with the governor all the time.
“Upon inquiry on the reason for the invasion in my house,I found out that the police were acting on a false tip-off that I had stockpiled arms and cash in my residence. After several hours of the operation, the police did not find anything incriminating and they left thoroughly disappointed.
“Expectedly, as part of the plot to incite the unsuspecting public against the government and my principal, some disgruntled politicians have twisted and concocted their usual falsehood from the police invasion of my house as has been widely reported by Sahara Reporters, an online medium reputed for junk and irresponsible journalism.
“The invasion and online report have caused untold embarrassment to me and clearly it is intended to tarnish my hard-earned image as a reputable Chartered Accountant. I am not a politician and should not be dragged to the arena of politics.
“Already, I have instructed my lawyers to sue the Nigerian police and Sahara Reporters for damages. For record purposes, I am a peace loving and law-abiding citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would stop at nothing to clear my name.”
Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, has reaffirmed that dialogue remains the best option to the amicable resolution of the security challenges bedevilling the Niger Delta region.
He therefore called on the Federal Government to engage in dialogue with the youths, “because military option is not a solution” to the problems in the Niger Delta.
The Governor, according to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, made the observation on Saturday in Warri, Delta State, during a meeting of Ijaw leaders and elders of thought to brainstorm on the way forward for the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
The meting was attended by Ijaw leader and First Republic Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark; Deputy Governor of Delta State, Kingsley Otuaro; former Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Sir Gabriel Toby; and one time Minister of Aviation, Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas.
Others are former Executive Director (Finance) in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Pastor Power Aginighan; President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Boma Obuoforibo; former chairman, Bayelsa State Flood Committee, Chief Francis Doukpola; Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha Kingdom, King Joseph Timiyan and Amakosu of Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri Kingdom, King Kopul Orumini.
Dickson who applauded the efforts of Clark and other prominent leaders for championing the cause of the people, urged them to work together for peaceful co-existence of the region and the country as a whole.
The governor said he was at the meeting “to lend support to the on-going discussions for the enthronement of peace, stability and development of the Niger Delta area.”
According to him, Ijaw leaders and elders have always provided leadership and support to the various state governments where the Ijaw people are domiciled towards strengthening the bond of unity and protection of the collective interests of the Ijaw nation.
Dickson reiterated his administration’s preparedness to continue to contribute its quota to the wellbeing and development of the Ijaw nation as leader of the only homogeneous state for the Ijaw people.
He said, “I have always said that there are issues which call for collaboration that are not to be resolved by war. I have said that there is no need for war in the Niger Delta; certainly not in Ijawland but rather we should dialogue.
“A few days ago, most of you must have heard comments that I made to the right authorities along the same line and I am delighted that our leaders of the Ijaw nation are thinking along those lines. I am talking about the need for dialogue, peace and development of our states and ultimately the country at large.”
Dickson who offered to host the next edition of the meeting in no distant time, expressed appreciation to all Ijaw leaders for their commitment to the welfare and wellbeing of the people.
The Rivers State born Nollyhood star, Gentle Jack also known as Vuga weekend slammed the organisers of African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) popularly known as AMAA for alleged insensitivity and deliberate cheat of Niger Delta States of sponsorship funds without giving back with development of local talents and movie industry.
Gentle Jack, who hails from Abonnema in Kalabari kingdom of Rivers State and known as Macho Man, told Leadership in Yenagoa, that though State Governors including Bayelsa and the host of the last edition, Rivers state invested money in sponsorship to encourage local talents, the years of hosting the AMAA by the Niger Delta has not produced any talent in the region.
Jack who dismissed the last edition hosted by Rivers State as “poorly organised” was staged without official invitation and participation of Local Actors and Actresses,”AMAA has milked states of the Niger Delta without giving back to the States. Rivers just hosted and no local talent was involved.Bayelsa has hosted for years and not a single film was promoted as promised.They promised to partner with state to promote local music and arts and also discover more talent,they have failed.”
Gentle Jack, who won many laurels for Rivers State during various editions of the National Festival of Arts and culture and has clocked 20 years in the movie industry in Nigeria, said unlike the National Festival of Arts and culture that has promoted local talents and won luatels, ” the AMAA is only targeted at promoting wasteful spending and neglect of indigenous artists” Jack commended the Bayelsa and Rivers State Governors, Hon. Seriake Dickson and Chief Nsome Wike respectively for their readiness to promote and support the movie industry but insisted that the organisers of AMAA has renege on various promises bothering on promotion of state’s movie industry.” this is an injustice on local talents.” Therefore, “Niger Delta Governors should investigate AMAA and check the content whether they contributed to the local movie industry as promised. PMAN is doing a lot to promote the movie. Industry with lots of indigent Niger Delta youths excelling, 7 years on, but have nothing to show.
SOURCE: LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPER
By Osa Okhomina — Jul 2, 2016 (Yenagoa)
The Bayelsa State Government on Friday in Yenagoa said it was unaware of any letter emanating from the state Police Command, alerting the government on a forseeable breakdown of law and order in the state.
The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Hon. Jonathan Obuebite, who stated this while speaking with newsmen in Yenagoa, called on those spreading falsehood to desist from acts capable of causing disaffection among the people and a breach of the prevailing peace.
Describing the information as baseless and unfounded, Hon. Obuebite urged the people of the state to disregard it and go about their normal businesses, noting that, the government would do everything possible to ensure that Bayelsa remains peaceful and stable.
Reacting to questions on the opposition party members representing Brass constituency II as well as Ogbia constituencies I and II, who are yet to be sworn in at the state House of Assembly, he said the issue was strictly a legislative matter.
Hon. Obuebite pointed out that Governor Seriake Dickson as a former lawmaker is a firm believer on the separation of powers among the three arms government, stressing that, the Executive Arm of government would never delve into the internal affairs of the legislature.
His words: “The Government of Bayelsa State is not aware of any letter from the Commissioner of Police to the Bayelsa State Government. On the issue of the 3 opposition party members that have not been sworn in, the matter is purely a legislative one and I am saying it authoritatively that Governor Seriake Dickson as a former lawmaker will never interfere in the affairs of the legislature.”
The Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, has faulted media reports over non payment of salaries of civil servants in the state for two months, describing them as the height of mischief and irresponsibility,
According him, the journalists who authored the stories were playing out the script of some disgruntled politicians, “who have decided not to see anything good in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led state administration.”
A statement issued on Friday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said some of the journalists reporting the story were taking undue advantage of the liberal and media friendly posture of the government.