‘Late Bayelsa photographer left four children behind’

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The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday held the first monthly Transparency Briefing without the presence of the late popular photographer attached to the Government House,Reginald Dei.

Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, however, dedicated his opening remarks to mourn the gruesome murder of Dei by unknown soldiers during the Presidential and National Assembly elections in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.

It was a moment of sober reflection as journalists observed the conspicuous absence of Dei, who until his untimely death was a regular smiling face at the Deputy Governor’s Conference Hall, the venue of most briefings.

Iworiso-Markson, who was close to tears, said it was painful that the late photographer died of electoral violence and not of a natural cause.

“I am completely devastated as I walked in here without noticing the presence of our photographer, Reginald Dei. It dawned on me that Dei would have been here if not for his untimely death in the hands of state actors and non-state actors during the last elections.

“If Dei had died of a natural cause, we would have understood it but he was killed in electoral violence that occurred in Southern Ijaw orchestrated by state actors and the main opposition party”.

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The commissioner lamented that Dei left four children behind and wondered why people would just move on after such shocking tragedy that befell the state.

“Now we have gathered again but we lost someone, who is supposed to be here with us,” he said and urged journalists to actively cover the proceedings of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry established by Governor Seriak to probe electoral violence in the state.

Iwe Dicksonoriso-Markson also urged media practitioners to show more sense of responsibility and responsiveness in fighting against the ills of society through their reports.

In an emotion-laden voice, the Commissioner also mourned other victims of the onslaught allegedly perpetrated by military personnel in the last general elections.

He stressed the need for journalists to demonstrate solidarity with their slain colleague by covering and effectively reporting proceedings of the commission.

At the briefing, Deputy Governor Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd) explained the N107million increase in the state’s February wage bill, saying it was because of payment of salaries to the 1000 newly employed civil servants.

Jonah (Retd) gave the explanation while reeling out financial figures for January and February 2019.

He said the state government spent N2.82bn in the payment of civil servants salaries for last month as against N2.72bn in January.

Jonah also explained the difference of N3.7bn in capital payments within the period was as a result of more work done on various ongoing capital projects in the state.

He announced N2.7bn as capital payment for January and N6.4bn for February, noting payment for such projects were usually determined by the extent of work carried out on them.

He said: “Yes, there is an increase or a difference between the capital expenditure of January and February 2019. If you put your mind to the number of projects we are doing, the difference is actually small money.

“And for any person that has a fair knowledge of project management, you know that payments are done based on certificates presented to you on the extent of work carried out.

“As you all know, we are working on the Ekeremor Road. And for the fact that we drove to Ekeremor, doesn’t mean we’ve paid to that extent.

“We are also on the Central Senatorial Road going to Oporoma. We are also trying to complete the Onopa Bridge.

“All these are outstanding jobs that we regularly pay. But you don’t expect the work rate to be the same every month. So is the amount paid. It doesn’t follow any linear arrangement.”

Jonah, who acknowledged the receipt of N16.11bn from the Paris Club Refund between January and March, said out of the amount N1.25bn was released to local government councils.

He disclosed the state had a gross inflow of N12.3bn from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for January while that of last month stood at N13.2bn.

The deputy governor however explained that Net FAAC inflow dipped to N10.7billion for January as against N11.6billion in February after first line FAAC deductions of N1.54bn were made for each month.

He also announced N968million as internally generated revenue (IGR) for December 2018 while that of January this year was put at N1.09billion.

Culled from here

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