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More Opposition Parties Support Amaechi…As NNPP Joins FOOPP

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Despite attempts by certain elements to cause disaffection and division amongst opposition ranks in Rivers State , the number of political parties that have joined the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi unity government is swelling by the day.

The latest party to join the government is the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) following the application and consequent admission of the party into the fold of the Forum of Organised Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) in Rivers State .  This revelation was part of the communiqué issued at the end of a marathon FOOPP executive meeting that took place at the Forum’s Apara Road , GRA Phase II, state headquarters in Port Harcourt last Friday.

With the admission of the NNPP, a total of 47 opposition political parties out of the 54 registered in the country are now participating in the Amaechi’s unity government in Rivers State .

The communiqué further confirmed the decision of the Forum Chairman, Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya not to offer himself as a gubernatorial candidate come 2001 general elections. However, it re-iterated the commitment of FOOPP to back consensus candidates for all future elective positions across the state.

All opposition political parties under the aegis of FOOPP re-affirmed their commitment to the ideals, vision and mission of the unity government of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi in Rivers State .

The communiqué also re-affirmed the resolve of FOOPP to hold more frequent consultations and meetings to stem the dangerous activities of detractors hell-bent on causing confusion for opposition political parties and the unity government.

The Forum condemned the violent protests by ex-militants at Aluu which resulted in reported deaths, rape and destruction of property at Choba, Port Harcourt.  The forum however, viewed with dismay the seeming deficiencies in the post-amnesty programme as being executed by the Amnesty Committee set up by the Federal Government, calling on the latter to overhaul the entire process to ensure that protests by ex-militants do not repeat. The Forum also added its voice in calling for the relocation of the rehabilitation camp from Aluu because of the contiguous nature of Aluu and the University of Port Harcourt.

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Tai LG Boss Uncovers Illegal Oil Bunkering Site At Kaani-Ban

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The Chairman of Tai Local Government Area, Sir Mbakpone Okpe has uncovered and destroyed an illegal oil refining (Kpo-fire) site located in a thick forest at Kaani-Ban in the government area.
It would be recalled that on January 15, 2022, the chairman placed a bounty of N1million on any site where illegal oil bunkering was taking place in Tai LGA.
Consequently, based on credible intelligence last Thursday, Mbakpone led his team and some personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces to the swampy forest where crude oil was illegally refined, and immediately ordered the total dismantlement of the site.
The chairman explained that illegal oil bunkering was not only crumbling the economy of the LGA but also hazardous to the environment and human existence.
Okpe reiterated the commitment of his administration to ensure the safety of lives of Tai people, noting that he would not compromise on the fight against crime and criminal elements in the local government.
However, following the first invasion of the swampy forest at Kaani-Ban, witnesses told Okpe that the illegal bunkerers came to the forest by midnight that same day to cart away remains of some ‘Kpo fire’ pots that were destroyed at the forest.
Okpe, therefore, ordered that the forest should be bulldozed such that it would not serve as a hideout for illegal oil bunkering again.
He also declared war on all illegal oil bunkering sites in the LGA.
In his address at the COVID-19 Vaccination and Cervical Cancer sensitisation programme held in Saakpenwa, last Friday, Okpe warned that anyone found culpable of illegal oil bunkering would be prosecuted.
The chairman also noted that he would personally lead a team of joint security forces to every nook and cranny of Tai LGA to ensure that there was no hiding place for oil bunkering.
Okpe reiterated that the bounty of N1million placed on illegal oil refining sites was still available to anyone with useful information about any illegal oil bunkering facility in the area.
Speaking on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, Okpe called on Tai people to take advantage of the free vaccines and the cervical cancer test kits available at the LGA Headquarters, Saakpenwa.
While addressing paramount rulers, youth presidents and CDC chairmen of Tai communities at the sensitisation programme organised by the Rivers State Primary Healthcare Board, Okpe explained that his administration was interested in the wellbeing of the people.
He further called on all community leaders to make the announcement and sensitise their people locally so that everyone can fully participate in the programme.
The MOH of Tai LGA, Dr. Keke Rammyson, outlined the importance and benefits of the programme to the people, and urged everyone to embrace it while it last.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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Sustain War Against Artisanal Oil Refiners, NBA Tells Wike

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The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt Branch has pleaded with the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to sustain the fight against illegal bunkering and artisanal oil refineries in the state.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Prince Nyekwere, the NBA, said the decisive action of the governor towards taming the illicit activities of the operators of illegal refineries in the state has reduced the soot in the atmosphere.
Nyekwere said the soot in Rivers State has a negative impact on the environment and the health of residents in the state.
The NBA while commending the bold steps taken by the Rivers State Government, promised to support the governor in tackling the menace of illegal oil bunkering and artisanal oil refineries in the state.
He added that the suggestions raised by professionals during the branch’s Law Week last December on the topic: ‘The Menace of soot in Rivers State’ were yielding the desired results as evidenced by the governor’s onslaught on operators of illegal oil refineries.

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Group Urges Senate To Confirm INEC Commissioners, Pass Amended Electoral Act

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The National Integration Forum (NIF) has urged the Senate to confirm the seven National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioner for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by Alhaji Aminu Alkali, Chairman of the NIF.
Alkali also called on the Senate to expedite action in finalising the Electoral Act amendment as  part of its constitutional contribution to advancing democracy.
On December 14,2021, President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate, seeking for the conformation of the nominees.
The Electoral Act had been further amended to provide for alternative for the holding of primaries by political parties against the direct primary clause that had been contentious.
NIF, a political pressure group, stressed that the confirmation of commissioners was also more important as INEC and political parties were already gearing up for by-elections, some governorship elections as well as the February 2023 general election.
The nominees are May Agbamuche (Delta state) representing South-south; Mr Ukeagu Nnamdi (Abia state) representing South-east; rtd Maj.-Gen A. B Alkali, Adamawa, representing North-east and Rada Gumus (Bayelsa), also representing South-South.
Others are Mohammed Haruna (Niger state) representing North-central; Sam Olumekun (Ondo state) representing South-west and Mr. OlaniyiIjalaye (Ondo State, South West) as Resident Electoral Commissioner.
The group appealed to the Senate to see the immediate approval of the nominees as a national duty that should be devoid of political intrigues and nuances.
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), had also appealed to the National Assembly to confirm the appointees with the deserved urgency in view of the up-coming strategic elections.
IPAC was particularly excited over the nomination of Mr Kenneth Ukeagu, a staff of INEC with a wealth of experience, as National Commissioner.
The IPAC National Chairman, MrYabagi Sani, had observed that being a serving Director and with 35 years cognate experience,  Ukeagu’s appointment will enhance smooth operations of the Commission.
Buttressing the import of the first-of-its-kind appointing an experienced INEC staff as a commissioner, the Chairman of the pressure group said the President Buhari ‘Hit the Bull’s eye’.
“Ukeagu’s appointment is unique being the first member of staff or an insider to be so appointed by any president; President Buhari needs to be commended for the innovation, sense of judgment, and the futuristic reforms in the commission.
“Aside being a round peg in a round hole, the appointment is an indication that hard work pays and it will usher in unfettered commitment that will boost the nascent democracy.
“This appointment is a further step taken to discourage corruption in electoral system as well as a step taken in the president’s usual manner of refining the system.’’
Also speaking with newsmen, Mr Hakim Afolabi of the Centre for Transparency and Accountability also commended the appointment of an insider.
“I appeal to the Senate to approve the nominees because of the immediate critical and substantial inputs they are to make into the electoral process.
“NASS should regard these appointments as dramatic injection of reforms and an encouragement that would give birth to a better tomorrow,” he said.
Also contributing, Mr Adebayo Owolabi, Chairman of the Nigeria Democratic Initiative advised that the senate should display the needed urgency as usual in approving the appointments in order to save time as well as prevent political meddling,’’ advised.
”We are aware that the senate if aware that all the nominees are capable and will add value to the electoral system. The honourable senators should do the needful to avoid unnecessary turmoil,’’ he said.

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