Chairman of Aba State Creation Movement, His Royal majesty, Eze Ariwodo Wogu, says groups agitating for new states in the South-East geo-political zone were not unwieldy compared to that of other zones.
The royal father contended that the South East should have had more state creation movements since the zone has the least number of states in the country, pointing out that those that have more states were even agitating for more states than the South East.
At present, about five state creation movements are pressing for creation of additional states in the South East. They are pushing for the creation of Aba State (from Abia State), Njaba State (from Imo State), Orashi State, Ekwiti State(from all the South East States), Ugwaku state (From Imo and Abia) and Adada State (from Enugu State).
Disagreeing with views that state creation movements in the South East were many, Eze Wogu said: “We don’t even have as many groups as other zones.”
The monarch spoke with newsmen at Government House where the Aba State Creation Movement had come to present their request before the Conference of Speakers of the Houses of Assembly in Nigeria. The Speakers were in Umuahia for their last quarterly meeting for this year. It was hosted by the Abia State House of Assembly.
“You understand from the first point that the South East is short -changed. We have five states against some that have six or seven and if those who have seven already are agitating for three, four or more states, why should the Igbo man with five be talking of one state? How many state movements do we have in the South East? We should be demanding for a maximum of four more states. Add four to five, that is nine. The South East is agitating for as many as four states,” the royal father said, adding that the various movements in the zone were interacting.
With regard to Aba State, Eze Wogu said the movement has made tremendous progress and has received encouraging response from groups and individuals.
“Already, the Committee for the Creation of Aba State has embarked on a visit to the various State Houses of Assembly and as I am talking to you, we have covered 13 Houses of Assembly, addressed and presented our matter to them. In fact, I wish you had followed us to these places. The response of all the 13 Houses of Assembly is very very positive. Almost every state House of Assembly we have visited supported the creation of Aba State for many reasons,” he said
He said the request has also been formally presented to the Senate Committee on Creation of States, adding that they were in Umuahia to seek the support of the speakers and to request some of the Houses of Assembly yet to grant the committee audience to do so.
Explaining the need for Aba State, Eze Wogu said “Why Aba State is deserved and is necessary, from the first point is that we believe that Aba state is one state that must be created to harmonise and bring the number of states in the South East at par with other zones.”
“We, the Abians, also believe that creation of Aba State will enhance the economy of Abians in terms of infrastructure, health, employment, anything. Aba is bigger that some states in Nigeria. Most importantly, the creation of Aba State will increase the take home of the Igbo from the national cake. Generally, we believe the creation of Aba state will be of immense benefit,” he added.
The TIDE gathered that the agitation for creation of Aba State dates back to 1915 when the request was presented to the British Colonial Government. It was represented to the Coats with Commission in 1954 and to both the Senate and House of Representatives between 1980 and 1983. The National Asssembly then were said to have given their approval for a referendum for the Creation of Aba State. However, the conduct of the referendum was yet to be carried out when the military struck and overthrew the government of President Shehu Shagari.
NERC Bars DisCos From Billing Unmetered Residents Above N1,800
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), amidst sustained outrage on over-billing, has barred the 11 Distribution Companies (DisCos) from charging residential customers above an average of N1,800 monthly until they are metered.
In an Order 197 signed by the Chairman, Prof. James Momoh and the Commissioner, Legal, Licencing & Compliance, Dafe Akpeneye, NERC said the new order repeals the 2012 estimated billing regulation effective since last Thursday.
It also said electricity consumers have grown from five million in 2012 to over 10million by December, 2019.
But about 52 per cent of them are not metered and are placed on estimated billing by the DisCos.
It said the Meter Assets Provider (MAP) was initiated to increase the metering of consumers within three years.
“The Estimated Billing Methodology Regulation is hereby repealed and shall cease to have effect as a basis for computing the consumption of unmetered customers in NESI,” it noted.
NERC said all unmetered residential and commercial customers shall not be invoiced for the consumption of energy if they are not metered by April.
Presently, it said R2 customers cannot be billed for more than the worth of 78 kilowatt hour (kwh) of energy monthly which is about N1,800.
Residents that consume less than 50kwh will be billed at N4 per kwh and a maximum of N200 monthly.
All other customers on higher tariff classes must be metered by DisCos by April 30, 2020.
“Failing which these customers are not liable to pay any estimated bill issued by the DisCo.
“Any customer that rejects the installation of a meter on their premises by a DisCo shall not be entitled to supply and must be disconnected”, it noted.
Late Mechanic: CSOs Give Police 48Hours To Disclose Autopsy Report
A coalition of civil society organisations in Rivers State has issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the State Police Command to make available result of the autopsy conducted on late Ikoku mechanic, Chima Ikwunado.
The Tide recalls that the spokesman of the State Police Command, DSP Nnamdi Omoni, had said that his principal (Police Commissioner), Mustapha Dandaura, would brief the media this week on the result of the autopsy performed on the late mechanic, but failed to give any specific date for the briefing.
However, Chairman of the Coalition of CSOs, Enefaa Georgewill, who disclosed this in Port Harcourt, said that if the report of the autopsy is not released after the deadline, the civil society organisations may be forced to take action.
“I have applied for the autopsy to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), and of course, the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State to get the result of the autopsy. We believe that in the next 48 hours, the autopsy result will be made available.
“As we are cooperating with the police, the police too should return the same favour. We don’t want to believe that the police won’t do the needful to give us the report. But if they don’t, we will be left with no choice than to take another action in accordance with the law”, he emphasised.
Similarly, traders at the Ikoku Spare Parts Market in Mile Three area of Diobu, Port Harcourt, have said they would stage a sit-at-home protest by today, if the police fail to take action against the officers indicted in the death of late Chima Ikwunado and the torture of the surviving Ikoku Four.
The Chairman of the Ikoku Spare Parts Market Traders Association, Anthony Alaribole, who revealed this to newsmen, accused the police of buying time in order to make the public forget about the matter, but added that the demand for justice for the Ikoku Five cannot be swept under the carpet.
Alaribole expressed dismay that the female police officer, who along with other officers of the Eagle Crack Team that were involved in the death of Chima Ikwunado and the torture of four Ikoku traders, were yet to be prosecuted, saying that the delay in arraigning the police personnel was tantamount to delaying justice in the matter.
“Police like buying time, but I think this could be a ploy to douse the situation. We are determined for justice, and we are up for this. Therefore, we cannot relent. But it is like they (police) are not taking us seriously. All our demands, none has been attended to.
“Sergeant Rose is walking around free. The other names that were mentioned, I cannot remember now, are still walking freely. I don’t know what they are waiting for to prosecute these people. If they think that because he is a common mechanic that died, then he has no right to his life, we will find out.
“But at the end of this Wednesday (today), if nothing is done, we are going to shut down at Ikoku,” the chairman, added.
Consultant Doctors Declare Strike Over NUC’s PhD Policy
The Medical and Dental Consultant Association of Nigeria (MDCAN) has declared an indefinite strike action over the National Universities Commission (NUC) requirement that clinical lecturers must acquire a Ph.D. as a condition for career progression in the Nigerian university system.
The consultant doctors said their strike was designed to press home their demand that the circular should be withdrawn.
The National President of MDCAN, Prof. Kenneth Ozoilo, announced the strike at a press conference in Jos, yesterday.
The MCAN President said, “The decision of the NUC to embark on this policy direction, without due attention to the consequences and implications is, to say, the least, embarrassing.
“Consequently, we are left with no further choice than to withdraw our services from the universities with immediate effect.”
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