The Rivers State Government has charged commercial motorcycle operators in nineteen local government areas of the State and parts of Eleme and Oyigbo council areas where their operation has not been banned to cue into the transport reform programmes of the present administration for their good.
Speaking at the launch of a new regime of commercial motorcycle operators’ reflective vest, identification card and crash helmets at Isiokpo, headquarters of Ikwerre local government area, the state, Transport Commissioner, Mr. George Tolofari, explained that the launch was part of government’s plan to improve the security of lives and properties in parts of the state where okada business was still operational.
Hon. Tolofari expressed appreciation to the State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Chief Chris Oruge for uniting commercial motorcycle operators in the State under the National Union of Road Transport Workers, stressing that with the present unity of purpose government could partner with them to make okada business more profitable and security-oriented.
The commissioner, who said that both the Rivers State Commercial Motorcycle Operators Law No. 5 of 2001 and the Rivers State Road Traffic Law No. 8 of 2003 had remained moribund ever since they were enacted into law, stated that the present administration was determined to enforce the laws not as a witch hunt but for the improvement of the transport sub sector in the state.
According to him, commercial motorcycle operators in the affected council areas who would readily buy into the new reflective vest, crash helmet and identification cards regime would not only save themselves, and their families from unwarranted pains and loss of lives, but would also not have any hard times in the hands of law enforcement agents as it affects the enforcement of the safety kits.
Hon. Tolofari, who expressed gratitude to the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Hon. Kerian Wobodo for his impressive hosting of the launch, appealed to the area police commands and federal road safety commission units across the affected council areas to join efforts to see that commercial motorcycle operators use the kits in line with government position on safety and relevant legislations.
The commissioner used the opportunity to announce government’s commitment to empower indigenous okada riders who were affected by the state government ban on commercial motorcycle business through the Skye Bank Taxi Scheme and appealed that when the taxis are given to them, it should be used to improve their living standards.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area, Mr. Kerian Wobodo, thanked the state ministry of transport for its determination to ensure that the Okada and Rivers State Road Traffic Laws are implemented in order to realise set objectives in the transport sub-sector in the state, adding that they should always carry one passenger as required by law.
Mr. Wobodo appealed to commercial motorcycle operators in the council areas where their operation has not been banned to appreciate the use of the reflective vest, crash helmet and identification card for their well being and improvement of security in the state.
In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the State Ministry of Transport, Prince Vincent Atako, applauded the new vest, identification card and crash helmet initiative, saying that the development was a government gesture that commercial motorcycle should take advantage of to improve their operations for their good and that of commuters.
Earlier, the State Chairman of the NURTW, Okada branch, Chief S.O. Chukwu, had expressed their commitment to the transport reforms of the state government and assured of the willingness of their members to abide by the government new vest ID card and crash helmet regime to give their operations a better corporate image.
Court Sentences Oil Thief To Two Years Imprisonment In PH
Justice S.D. Pam of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has convicted and sentenced, Abdullahi Umar to two years imprisonment for illegally dealing in petroleum products without appropriate license.
Umar was convicted on Tuesday January 18, 2022 after pleading “guilty” to a one-count charge preferred against him by the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The one-count charge read: “That you Abdullahi Umar being the driver on board Axor Tanker with registration number: ENU 952 ZE on or about the 7th October, 2021 at Okporowo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court without lawful authority dealt in petroleum product, to wit: 15,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(17) (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17, of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation of Nigeria) 2007 and punishable under Section 1 (17) (ii) of the same Act”
He pleaded “guilty” when the charge was read to him.
In view of his plea, prosecution counsel M. T. Iko, prayed the court to convict and sentence the defendant accordingly.
Counsel to the defendant, A.S. W. Amadi, prayed the court to temper justice with mercy, ”for he is a first-time offender with no previous criminal records”.
Justice Pam convicted and sentenced the defendant to two years imprisonment in a Correctional Centre, with an option of fine of N500,000.00 payable into the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federation.
He ordered that the 15,000 litres of illegally- refined petroleum product, Automotive Gas Oil, (AGO) arrested alongside the Truck with registration number: ENU 952 ZE be forfeited to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and sold by the Secretary of the EFCC, or any other person designated by him. The proceeds of the sale should be paid into the EFCC’s Recovery Account domiciled with the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). He also released the truck to its owner.
The judge ordered the convict to depose to an affidavit of good behaviour before the court.
Umar started the journey to prison when he was arrested by officers and men of 6 Division, Nigeria Army on October 7, 2021 around Okporowo, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for illegal dealing in petroleum products.
He was subsequently handed over to the EFCC alongside the truck, for more investigation and possible prosecution.
Monarch Lauds Wike Over Efforts To End Illegal Refineries
The King of Obumuton-Chiri in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, King Darick Acheseomie has commended the State Governor for being proactive in ending illegal refining of petroleum products in the State.
Acheseomie stated this at a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the community’s resolution for this year.
He warned those in the illegal business to steer clear the territories of the community to avoid arrest and prosecution.
He expressed gratitude to God for preserving life and more good things to come this year.
The monarch, who was accompanied by the chiefs and elders of the community, urged the various units to maintain the standard and the criteria used in electing their leaders’, adding that anyone not qualified should not be considered.
He instructed the chairmen of the various communities and units to allow the elders to screen aspirants to elective positions in the kingdom..
The king recalled that last year, November, it was resolved that all communities and units should set up the elders council that will oversee the electoral process, and the elder’s council members should not be less than 60 years.
According to the monarch, the elders were given the mandate of selecting and submitting the list of all selected candidates for each of the communities and units and should not dabble into collection of revenue in the community.
He also urged the elders to take notice that the chairmanship position of communities is rotational, in alphabetical order.
The king commended the communities that had submitted the list of eligible leaders and lauded them for the peaceful processes in arriving at the ultimate selection.
He informed the kingdom of stipulated programme for the year including, football match competition among youths in the various communities, and skills acquisition for all the women in the kingdom.
He assured that the kingdom would be serious, effective and efficient in the things of God this year.
By: Michael Abraham
Rivers Community Now Has New CDC Executive
A new set of leaders has emerged in Egita Community Development Committee (CoC) in Ogba/Egberna/Ndonl local Government Area of Rivers State.
This follows the completion of tenure and subsequent dissolution of Comrade Japhet Morrison-red executive on the 31st of December 2021.
The new executive whose tenure begins January 2022 and ends December 2024 is led by Comrade Bright Orji Chinma as Chairman, lkechukwu Monday vice chairman, Nelson Akidu, general secretary, Jerusalem Ajie, public relations officer and Peter Obunwa, organising secretary.
Others are Hikvern Uzah financial secretary, Ejike luke, treasurer and Simon Nathaniel, director of culture.
The eleven-member executive also has Bright Ishmael as Auditor, Ndudi Solomon, Provost I and Chidi Gift Provost 2.
Inaugurating the new leadership, Paramount Ruler of Egita Community, Eze Godpower Jokiel charged the members to see their emergence as a call to serve God and humanity and not far self-aggrandisement.
He urged them to make integrity their watch-word, adding that Egita interest should rise above personal interest as to attract rapid socio-economic development to the community.
The paramount ruler expressed regret over the crisis that engulfed the community in the past and sued for concerted effort to sustain the existing peace through constant engagements of stakeholders fair judgments, integrity and unity of purpose.
Jokiel enjoined companies operating the area, governments at all levels, security agencies and donor agencies to co-operate with the new leadership of the community and discountenance presentations from the previous leadership to ensure peace and tranquility in the community.
Responding on behalf of other members, Chairman Egita Community Development Committee, Comrade Bright Orji Chinma thanked Jokiel, most elder in Egita Commuity, Roman Ugboji and other leaders for the confidence reposed in them pledged to uphold the charge to community forward.
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