Following success recorded in checking the menace of HIV/AIDS in the state, the Rivers State Government has unveiled a six year plan to tackle the malaise head on.
State Commissioner for Health, Dr Sampson Parker at a rally to commemorate the World AIDS/HIV Day in Omoku disclosed that the State government would not relent to combat the disease until it is reduced to its barest minimum.
To this end, he stated a mass anti-AIDS/HIV campaign would be embarked upon to educate the rural populace, saying the disease is now more prevalent at the grassroot than the city, where awareness have gone up.
Already, he stated, Local Action Committee on AIDS/HIV had been established in 21 local government councils and that the state spends over N100 million yearly on HIV/AIDS campaign and programme.
A report made available to The Tide from the Ministry indicate that the sum of N23 million was released by the State Government to the State Agency on Control of AIDS (SACA).
About N120 million worth of anti-retroviral drugs were also purchased within the period for the eight ART/Sites in the state.
Currently about 6,721 subsides on ART drugs offered free of charge by the State government to patients. HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) centres have now swollen to 110.
The report also reveal that centres for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) have now increased to 61 in the state.
Out of the 25,713 pregnant women that were tested about 1,407 were positive, while 868 babies passed through PMTCT services.
Last year, out of 14,860 people that were tested about 1,281 tested positive with 2,755 children under ART care.
NSCDC Parades 11 Suspects Over Vandalism
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Rivers State Command, in its renewed effort to fight vandalism and all forms of illegal dealings in petroleum products, has arrested 11 suspects for vandalism of oil pipelines.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the Command, DSC Olufemi Ayodele, and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt.
The statement also confirmed that one wooden boat conveying locally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), popularly called Diesel, was impounded.
According to the statement, the Command took over another nine suspects, two wooden boats, and two fibre boats arrested by the Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder in Rivers State.
The statement, which was issued on behalf of the Acting State Commandant, DC Claire Okpo, noted that the Antivandal border patrol Team arrested one Tochukwu Uzoigwe, Male, 25, whose accomplice is now at large, for pipeline vandalism, unlawful tampering with Nigeria Agip Oil Company Pipelines, conspiracy and sabotage of critical national assets and Infrastructures.
“Avowed to leave no stone unturned on her assumption of duty, Deputy Commandant, Claire Okpo, who recently took over the Command’s leadership, affirmed that the Command under her watch will not go below the already existing standard in the fight against criminalities in the State,” NSCDC said.
The state further revealed that the suspect was arrested while conveying vandalised oil pipelines in a Toyota Bus with registration number, Anambra NSH 252 YY at Mbiama road in Ahoada West Local Government Area of the State.
“In addition, the Marine Team of the Command’s Antivandal Squad, patrolling the waterways, Impounded an abandoned wooden boat containing AGO while nine suspects, two wooden boats and two fibre boats were handed over to the Command by the NNS PATHFINDER based on the existing interagency collaborations and Synergy”, it stated.
NSCDC said that a preliminary investigation report showed that one of the suspects arrested in connection with sabotage of Critical National Assets and Infrastructures negotiated about N320,000 and paid ¦ N250,000 for the vandalised pipelines.
By: King Onunwor
Elder Statesman Tasks Buhari On Restructuring
An elder statesman and prominent Niger Delta stakeholder in Rivers State, Rev. (Dr) Sokari Soberekon has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to implement his proposal on restructuring before the presidential election.
According to him, the comprehensive proposal he sent to President Buhari and the National Assembly last year has the perfect solutions to the lingering problems of the country, and appealed to the President to without further delay, implement the proposal which he said will solve the problems of the country if well implemented.
He said, he is saddened that he has not got any feedback from the President or the National Assembly since he sent the document, adding that there is nothing to show that they are doing anything about it.
He felt the only reason they do not want to do any thing about the proposal is to continue to embezzle the resources of the Niger Delta and keep oppressing the oil producing Niger Delta and her people.
“There is no way you can get the best of yam without slicing or peeling it. The same way, Nigeria needs to be sliced for everyone in the country to enjoy the benefits of being a citizen of Nigeria and the slicing of the country is restructuring the country into six autonomous zones that will control their resources and pay taxes to the centre which is true federalism. Each of the zones should be headed by a Vice President that will be voted into power for a single tenure of 12 years which means there will be six Vice Presidents in the country”, he added.
He said in a statement in Port Harcourt that each Vice President will serve as a President General for two years on a rotational basis, which are all well articulated in the proposal.
“Every presidential aspirant that is contesting or willing to contest should contest in their zones for the Vice President”, he intoned
According to him, “this will drastically reduce the huge amount of money spent on election in every four years and also lessen the tension in the country in every four years due to electioneering activities”. He also said “the politicians will not use our God-given oil to play politics again.”
He also called on the British Government to come to the aid of the Niger Delta people “because it is the CORE states of Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers that gave them the trump card to win when 14 European countries were scrambling for Africa, Nigeria in particular at the Berlin Conference in 1884-1885”, It is the core states of Calabar, Ogoja and Rivers that brought in the Europeans, that is why the headquarters was in Calabar before it was moved to Lagos after amalgamation. The amalgamation document was only signed by the Obong of Calabar and the British should remember the commercial treaty signed in 1775 at the Bight of Brafia that opened way for trading between them and the Rivers people. Then, they were known as seafarers and the Rivers people, were known as bay farers. Seafarers are the sailors while the bay farers are the people living at the front of the sea. The Bight of Brafria is where the seafarers and the bay farers met to sign the commercial treaty” he said.
Soberekon who described himself as an agitator, emancipator and Senior Advocate of Niger Delta (SAND) said he was instrumental to the establishment of the oil derivation formula during the Second Republic under the watch of former President of the country, Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1981. He is the General Overseer of Christ Jesus Link Gospel Publishers Church.
Community Lauds LG Boss Over Youth Empowerment, Dev
The people of Gure Community in Khana Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State, have lauded the Chairman of the LGA, Dr. Bariere Thomas, for what they called his pragmatic approach to development in the area within his one year in office.
The leadership of the community also commended the chairman for restoring peace, unity and love in the area, particularly in Gure community.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman of Gure, ASP. Nekabari Mmbip; Youth President, Comrade Bright Friday and Community Leader, Dr. Moses S. Neebee, and made available to The Tide.
According to the statement, the youth empowerment programme introduced by the Council Chairman has drastically reduced cultism and social vices in the area.
“We are happy that today peace and unity has returned to Khana LGA, particularly Gure community. Apart from that his youth empowerment scheme and grading of Gure Community road for easy access is worthy of commendation.
“We want to say that the Chairman engaging the youths meaningfully has drastically reduced cultism and other social vices in the area. Honestly we really appreciate him”, the statement said.
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