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On Resource Control We Stand –Amaechi

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The Rivers State Government says the struggle for resource control remains a major ingredient in finding a lasting peace in the Niger Delta.
Besides, it insisted that it would not compromise its stand against common criminals who have hijacked the Niger Delta agitation for personal gains.
Speaking through his deputy, Engr Tele Ikuru at a stakeholders forum organised by presidential committee on amnesty and rehabilitation in Port Harcourt, Governor Chibuike Amaechi affirmed that the Niger Delta struggle is real and therefore should be addressed with urgency it deserves.
Governor Amaechi welcomed the Federal Governments gesture and called on the militants to retrace their steps and embrace peace.
Throwing more light on why the region is still involved in violence Governor Amaechi said that the federal government has only paid lip service to the development of the region.
He cited the case of the abandoned Bonny/Bodo Road, and petroleum Institute sited in Bonny Island, including other projects that never saw the light of the day since the last 10 years.
On the other hand, the Rivers State chief executive says there was need to differentiate criminals from real agitators following the amnesty.
Governor Amaechi declared:’ We are still wondering what the kidnap of a three year –old child and that of a 90 year-old man got to do with resource control.”.
He lamented that the agitation has unfortunately been hijacked by criminal elements saying, “in the last 10 kidnappings we have been able to burst are people from the neighbouring states”.
Urging the criminals to change from their ways he called on them to embrace the amnesty gesture and sieze their activities.
Earlier in his address, chairman of the presidential committee, Air Vice Marshall Avarile disclosed that the government has established four arms return centres in Rivers State.
The exercise tagged: Amnesty for freedom and development according to the Airforce chief would expire by October 4, while the actual arms return exercise would commence on August 6th of this year.
Immediately the militants return their arms, Ararile disclosed that they would be absorbed into rehabilitation centres manned by nurses, doctors and psychiatrists and other professionals to return them.

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IGP Orders Female Personnel To Perform Tasks Reserved For Men

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The Inspector-General of Police, Alkali Usman has asked female officers to brace up as they will now be deployed to perform all roles originally reserved for their male counterparts in the force.
The IGP, who was in Cross River State on a visit, addressed officers and men at the state Police Command on Diamond Hill Calabar, yesterday.
He said the force has evolved much and that the female personnel have equally been trained in all aspects of police duties.
“Henceforth, in keeping with modern trends, all female personnel in the Nigeria Police Force should brace up as they are going to be posted to do all the traditional duties hitherto reserved for men.
“We shall post them to head critical crime areas as well as head such divisions and would also deploy them to arrest criminals”.
He disclosed that 10,000 new recruits were on training and would be deployed in such sensitive areas when they graduate.
He called on all police commands in the country to devise ways to combat what he described as new crimes.
He said banditry, cybercrimes and kidnapping are new crimes that old officers did not learn strategies to combat while at training colleges.
He disclosed that the force has already sent 50 personnel to training in different countries.
To assist the state command reduce its vehicular challenge, the IG directed the release of ten brand new Toyota vehicles next week.
“We are doing the very best to contain challenges prevalent in the command. Next week, your commissioner will take delivery of five vehicles and an additional five next month. We are taking action in refurbishing dilapidated infrastructure; new barracks will soon be built.
“We are emphasising on training and retraining and have sent 50 personnel abroad.”
The IG emphasised the importance of synergy and collaboration with sister security agencies to stem the tide of crimes.
Still responding to the state Commissioner of Police, Aminu Alhassan, who drew attention to the threats posed by IPOB and Ambazonian insurgency in nearby Cameroon, the IG said more gunboats would be provided to help in the command patrol the maritime boundary check possible infiltration.
According to the commissioner, attempts to turn the state into a criminal den have been thwarted by his command.

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Alleged Fraud: Court Grants N500m Bail To Saipem MD, Others

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A Rivers State High Court in Port Harcourt has granted bail to the Managing Director of Saipem Contracting, Mr. Walter Peviana, and Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe with N500million.
On January 11, the duo were remanded at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre over an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Rivers State Government the sum of $130million.
At the resumed hearing, for bail consideration, the trial Judge, Justice Okogbule Gbasam, granted bail to the defendants in the matter filed by the state government as registered in suit number PHC/3106/CR/2021.
The prosecution in the matter is the Government of Rivers State, while the defendants are Saipem SPA (1st defendant); Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited (2nd defendant); Mr. Walter Peviana (3rd defendant); Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe (4th defendant); Giandomenico Zingali (5th defendant); Vitto Testaguzza (6th defendant), and Davide Anelli (7th defendant).
Earlier, the counsel for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th defendants, Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), and the counsel for the 4th defendant, relying on Sections 194 and 169 of the Administration of Criminal Justice and Sections 35 and 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, pleaded for the bail of their clients.
The counsel told the court to grant the defendants bail considering the facility where they were detained, explaining that their clients could fall ill following the spread of the COVID-19.
Ajumogobia urged the court to grant his client, Peviana, bail owing that he is the “managing director of one of the largest company in West Africa (Saipem),” and would not jump bail.
The counsel pleaded that the court has the power to grant bail to the defendants.
But the applicant counsel, Godwin Obla (SAN), urged the court to dismiss the bail application for the defendants.
Obla argued that the money involved in the allegation, if converted to Nigeria currency, would amount to N32billion, which he said is about 6.7percent of the total state budget for the year.
He argued that the 4th defendant counsel filed application of bail a day to the client arraignment in court, saying the application did not comply with the law; hence, the court should dismiss such.
The counsel further argued that: “It shows the seriousness of the crime the accused persons were charged with and reason why the accused should not be granted bail.”
Ruling on the bail application, Gbasam noted the error in filing a bail application before the defendant appears in court.
The judge said: “The anticipation is that bail should come before arraignment, arrest or remand. The application made on January 10, 2022, was merely speculation and presumption. The 4th defendant should have filed his application after the case has been brought to court.”
He stated that the application was null and void.
Gbasam, who also expressed the discretion of the court in granting bail to the 2nd and 4th defendant, ordered that they should present two sureties each, and surety for the 2nd defendant must be a principle officer of the 1st defendant (Saipem), and must own a landed property in the state with Certificate of Ownership.
Also, as the bail condition, the judge said the defendants should deposit their international passports to the court and that sureties must deposit original papers of their landed property in the court.
However, the court adjourned the matter till February 2, 3 and 4, 2022, for accelerated hearing.
Speaking with newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel for the applicant, Obla, explained that: “The matter came up today (Tuesday) for plea as previously scheduled by the court, and the plea of the defendants were all taken to the 15 count-charge, and they moved their application for bail.
“We opposed the application for bail but also left a window for the judge to also exercise his discretion.
“He has now granted bail to the 3rd and 4th defendants in the sum of N500million each, two sureties to provide landed property, the surety for the 3rd defendant must be a managerial level with the second defendant.
“The case has been adjourned till February 2, 3, and 4, 2022, for hearing on the day-by-day basis.”
Also speaking, counsel for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 6th defendants, Ajumogobia, lauded the court for granting bail to his clients, but noted the high conditions of the bail.
He said: “Bail is at the discretion of the court. We made an appeal that the court should issue conditions that are not too stringent. I think the court was gracious enough to issue difficult conditions, but we will try and see how we can meet those conditions-I mean N500million is not a small amount of money for the two of the defendants.
“But at least the challenge now is to meet those conditions for bail so that they can come out of the prison,” he said.

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Decision On Petrol Subsidy Removal To Come In June –NEC

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The National Economic Council (NEC), yesterday, said that decision on the removal of the subsidy on petroleum will be made in June when the provision for its payment in the 2022 budget expires.
NEC said though conservation on subsidy removal has been going on it was yet to take a position on it.
The council chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo met at the Conference Hall, Presidential villa, Abuja, yesterday, with the declaration that since the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Limited has become a limited liability company, it must be run differently.
Fielding questions while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdulahi Sule, said it was understandable that the provision for the payment of the subsidy is made in the 2022 budget only until June.
Sule, flanked by his Edo State counterpart, Godwin Obaseki, stated that any decision on the removal of subsidy will be taken after the budget provision runs its course in June.
Also speaking while responding to questions, Obaseki pointed out that Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), which sells for N162-165per litre in Nigeria, sells a 100percent higher in other countries.
He noted that the Federal Government was spending about N2trillion on petroleum subsidy, an amount, he said could have been used for other purposes.
According to him, the NEC, therefore, wondered whether that should be allowed to continue in a situation where he observed only two thirds of the states of the federation consume the subsidy.

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