|Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development|
|Born||3 March 1967|
|Political party||People's Democratic Party (PDP)|
|Profession||Legal Practitioner, Politician|
Heineken Lokpobiri (born March 3, 1967) is a Nigerian politician who was elected Senator in April 2007 on the People's Democratic Party (PDP) platform in Bayelsa State, for the Bayelsa West constituency. He is currently the Nigerian Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Early life and education
Heineken Lokpobiri received an LL.B (Hons) in 1994 from Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, BL February 1995.
First senate term
He was elected to the National Senate for the Bayelsa West constituency in 2007 and was appointed to committees on Sports, Public Accounts, Police Affairs, Niger Delta and Millennium Development Goals.
After Nigeria performed poorly at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, the Senate Sports Committee of which Lokpobiri was chairman issued a report which cast blame on maladministration and lack of cooperation from the Director General of the National Sports Commission, Dr. Amos Adamu. Lokpobiri was chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Transport. In June 2009, after further sabotage of oil facilities by militants in the Niger Delta, he praised the Federal Government's amnesty, saying "With the current amnesty deal, I believe that both parties will go home satisfactory and the contractors will henceforth work in more stable environment and that will accelerate the pace of road construction in the region."
In July 2009 the Senate passed the National Agency for Elderly Persons bill, sponsored by Heineken Lokpobiri, which will give legal support, welfare and recreational facilities to elderly people in the country. In September 2009, the authorities of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) and the Federal Executive Council (FEC) announced approval of new land charges in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. Senator Lokpobiri initiated a stormy debate when he accused the authorities of acting illegally by failing to first secure the approval of the National Council of States.
Second senate term
Lokpobiri ran for reelection as Bayelsa West Senator in the April 2011 elections, on the PDP platform, and was initially declared the winner. However, the Independent National Electoral Commission then withdrew their decision, declaring that the election was fraught with “widespread irregularities”. A few minutes after the announcement, Lokpobiri was arrested by State Security Service operatives. Lokpobiri challenged the INEC decision. The INEC had planned to rerun the election in Sagbama and Ekeremor local governments on 28 April 2011, but a high court in Yenagoa issued an order restraining the INEC from conducting the election until the challenge had been resolved. Lokpobiri took his seat in the Senate on 29 May 2011 and was appointed chairman of the committee on Water Resources and a member of the committee on Solid Minerals. In August 2011 it was reported that the police were not prosecuting Lokpobiri and others suspected of electoral offenses since the INEC had to approve any such move. The INEC said that it did not have the powers to prosecute offenders.
In March 2012 Lokpobiri introduced controversial legislation that would make it harder for labor unions to call a strike. A ballot would be required before industrial action could be started. Lokpobiri said, "This helps to achieve an affirmative consensus on union members through the instrumentality of ballot. Fairness, transparency and accountability are also given pride of place in the scheme of things." Other senators disagreed. Senator Joshua Dariye said, "The most democratic institution in the world is organized labour, they are the only hope of the society, if we stampede them, I fear we will be calling for anarchy."
Lokpobiri is married and has three children.
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- "185,000 barrels shut in as militants hit oil facility". Royal Dutch Shell Plc. June 19, 2009. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
- "Senate passes Elderly Persons Bill". TIMBUKTU MEDIA. July 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-17.
- "Will FG reverse Abuja land charges?". Nigerian Tribune. 2009-09-15. Retrieved 2009-09-17.[dead link]
- "SSS Arrests Senator Lokpobiri over Saturday's Polls". ThisDay. 12 Apr 2011. Retrieved 2011-02-21.
- Hope Abah (11 April 2011). "SSS arrest Sen. Lokpobiri in Yenagoa". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Bunmi Awolusi (April 28, 2011). "Court restrains INEC from conducting rescheduled Bayelsa polls – Channels". Channels TV. Retrieved 2011-06-18.
- John Alechenu (August 7, 2011). "April elections: INEC, Police pass buck over high profile offenders". The Punch. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- Onyedi Ojiabor, and Sanni Onogu (2012-03-14). "Row in Senate over Bill to stifle strike". The Nation. Abuja. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- INALEGWU SHAIBU (March 14, 2012). "Law to gag labour on strike splits Senate". Vanguard. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
- "Heineken Lokpobiri". Global Leadership Project. Retrieved 25 May 2012.