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Jonathan Spoke With Yar’Adua, Says Akunyili

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Senator Lee Maeba (left) chatting with  MOSOP President, Barr Ledum Mitee, during the 18th Ogoni Day celebration held at Bori, last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga.

Senator Lee Maeba (left) chatting with MOSOP President, Barr Ledum Mitee, during the 18th Ogoni Day celebration held at Bori, last Monday. Photo: Chris Monyanaga.

The Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan has told the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that he spoke with the ailing president, Musa Yar’Adua briefly on Tuesday.

Vice President Goodluck Jonathan said he spoke with the ailing President Yar’Adua “briefly on Tuesday evening, precisely at 8:00 pm.” He told the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, which held yesterday.

The Minister of Information and Communication, Professor Dora Akunyili made the disclosure while briefing State House Correspondents.

Asked to tell Nigerians the present condition of the president’s health, she said that she had said all she knew.

Meanwhile, the vice president who always arrived on time to chair the FEC meeting was, yesterday, behind schedule due to another meeting he held behind closed-doors with the Governors Forum at his residence. The meeting lasted for about two hours.

As early as 8:30 a..m. the governors elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and led by chairman of the Forum, Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, stormed the vice president’s residence in a long convoy. By 9:30 a.m. when the meeting ended, the governors, in the same manner they came, zoomed out while the vice president’s convoy also left residence to attend the FEC meeting.

Details of the meeting, however, remained scanty, as no participant was willing to go into details on what the governors discussed with Jonathan.

Vanguard, however, spoke to the chairman of the Forum, Dr. Saraki who said “the meeting went on very well” adding that details of the meeting would be made public by the vice president at the appropriate time.

But an impeccable Presidency source said the governors came for a solidarity visit and to reassure the vice president of their support and cooperation in the face on the growing political quagmire in the country. The source added that the issue of the health of the president was discussed with the VP in addition to other pressing national issues occasioned by the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

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Executive Order Violation: Rivers Court Remands Two Pilots In Prison …Police Begin Contact Tracing Of Suspects …As Wike Threatens To Expose Purveyors Of COVID-19 In Rivers

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A Port Harcourt Chief Magistrate Court, yesterday, remanded two pilots of Carveton Helicopters, Samuel Ugorji and Samuel Buhari in prison custody, for allegedly intentionally disobeying the Executive Order issued by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, aimed at checking the spread of Coronavirus in the state.
The court, presided over by Chief Magistrate D. D. Ihua-Maduenyi, remanded the two pilots at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre till May 19, 2020, when their trial would commence.
Ihua-Maduenyi ruled that COVID-19 tests be carried out on the two pilots to ascertain their status.
The pilots, who were arrested by the Rivers State Police Command, were arraigned by the state Police Command via charge number: PMC/532C/2020.
The Prosecution Counsel and Officer-in-charge, Legal of the Rivers State Police Command, SP Gladys Amadi told the court that the acts of the two pilots were capable of putting the entire state in danger of contracting Coronavirus.
She urged the court to remand the accused in prison custody to enable the police conclude their investigation, noting that allowing the accused persons roam the streets would endanger others in the state.
According to her, remanding the pilots would also stop them from further violating the Executive Order.
The Honourable Attorney General of Rivers State, Prof Zacheus Adango was also in court.
The pilots are facing a four-count charge, including, “That you, Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now at-large, as pilot and co-pilot of Twin-Otter, Carveton Helicopters, on the 7th day of April, 2020 at the Air Force Base, Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanour to wit: disobedience to lawful order and thereby committed an offence under Section 517A of the Criminal Code CAP 37, Vol 11 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
“That you, Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now at-large, on the same date and place at the aforesaid Magisterial District, did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the governor of Rivers State as contained in Paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 made pursuant to Sections 2, 4, and 8 of Quarantine Act Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Regulation 11 of the Quarantine (Coronavirus (COVID-19 ) and other Infectious Diseases) Regulations, 2020 by flying the Twin-Otter Caverton Helicopters into Air Force Base, Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 of the Quarantine Act Cap Q2 LFN, 2004.
“That you, Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now at-large, on the same date and place at the aforesaid Magisterial District, did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace by flying and discharging passengers from the Twin-Otter helicopter at the Air Force Base, Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
“That you, Samuel Ugorji (m), Samuel Buhari (m) and others now at-large, on the same date and place at the aforesaid Magisterial District, did intentionally disobey the lawful order issued by the governor of Rivers State on restriction of movement and flights within the state contrary to Paragraph 8 of the Executive Order RVSG -01 2020 and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 203 of the Criminal Code Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.”
However, for violating the order banning entry of flights into the state, two pilots were yesterday, arrested in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Police Command.
The pilots were arrested at the Air Force Base in Port Harcourt.
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who briefed newsmen in the office of the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr Mustapha Dandaura, expressed worry that the passengers who flew in with the flight had been discharged without the authorities knowing their Coronavirus status.
“These gentlemen came in and brought some passengers. As I speak to you, these passengers are in the state. This is going to cause us sleepless nights.
“I want to say it is a serious matter to us and the police must handle it seriously.
“Now, we are in a war situation. We want to know these people you brought in so that we can trace them”, Wike said.
The State Chief Executive disclosed that the index case in the state has tested negative and has been discharged but added that unfortunately, another Coronavirus positive case was recorded last Monday.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Danduara had said that the arrest of the two pilots followed an intelligence report that the flight had landed at the Air Force Base with passengers.
The pilot and the co-pilot, he said, were apprehended by the Air Force Commander, adding that it was not known where the passengers were flown in from.
“To our greatest surprise, the aircraft landed without permission. We didn’t know their mission or if they have come to sabotage the state.
“His Excellency, being somebody very security conscious, alerted me, and we went to the Air Force Base and saw these pilots”, the police boss stated.
He expressed regret that when the governor of the state and service commanders have been going round the markets, churches and other public places in the state to ensure that the directives against Coronavirus spread were strictly obeyed, such development occurred.
He assured the governor that a search for the passengers in the said flight would commence immediately so as to trace their whereabouts in the state.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, threatened to set aside his immunity to testify against persons who violate the state’s border closure regulations aimed at preventing the spread of Coronavirus.
Speaking at the office of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura in Port Harcourt, yesterday, following the arrest of two pilots of Carveton Helicopters who illegally transported expatriates to the state, Wike said that the protection of Rivers people was an important assignment that must be executed with the seriousness it deserves.
The governor said: “I am willing to drop my immunity as a governor as far as this case is concerned. I am ready to be a prosecution witness.”
He charged the police to prosecute the matter to its logical conclusion to serve as deterrent to those interested in violating the regulations of the state regarding the fight against Coronavirus.
Wike said: “I want to say this is a serious matter to us and police should handle it seriously. That’s why I am here at the state command to show the seriousness of this issue.
“Nobody says that you can’t go to any state but now, we are in a war situation. This COVID-19 is even worse than a conventional war. We want to know those people you brought in so that we have to trace them to know their identity and status. Luckily, we have seen the pilot and the co-pilot. They will assist the police in identifying them”.
Wike reiterated that though the state government has no power to close airports, but added that it has the right to check those coming into the state in order to ascertain their status.
“I have always said that we need the support of everybody. Nobody knows the status of those coming into Port Harcourt. Nobody knows whether they are positive or negative. I have said before that I don’t have the right to close the airport. But I have the right of saying ‘don’t enter my state because we want to know your status’,” he said.
He wondered why Carveton Helicopters decided to cut corners when the state government outlined the procedure for flying expatriates from Lagos into the state.
The governor said: “The company wrote to us about bringing people which I forwarded to the commissioner of police to perform security checks and the health officials to perform their duties before allowing them to come in. That is for those performing essential duties. But they decided to violate the regulations.”
Wike said that his administration was duty-bound to protect Rivers people from Coronavirus.
He confirmed the second case of Coronavirus in the state, explaining that the person was 62-years old who recently returned from the United Kingdom and entered the state through Lagos.
Wike also confirmed that the index case in the state has been discharged from the treatment/isolation centre in Eleme.
He said: “The positive index case of the virus we had, by the grace of God, has been discharged. What we have now is another case of a 62-year old person who came in from UK and landed in Lagos, and then, moved to Port Harcourt.”
Also speaking, the Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mustapha Dandaura confirmed that the command arrested the pilot and co-pilot of Carveton Helicopters who ferried unknown passengers to the state, adding that the pilots violated the regulations regarding the safety of the state.
He said: “Recall that when this Coronavirus issues started, there was ban of local flight from coming into the state. Since that time we have been monitoring the activities of these private airlines.
“To our surprise, we received an intelligence report that an aircraft has landed at the Air Force Base and that it was carrying some passengers. We have apprehended the pilot and the co-pilot by the NAF commander, that’s why they alerted the chief executive officer of the state who had given an order that on no account should any aircraft land in Rivers State without clearance.
“We don’t know the people they brought, whether they are positive or negative of Coronavirus. Where are they heading to and where they came from?
He commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his commitment to the protection of Rivers people.
“To our surprise this morning, this aircraft landed without any signal or permission from the authorities. We don’t know their mission here. Maybe, they are coming here to sabotage the activities of the state and the security agencies that are putting efforts on ground to ensure that Rivers State enjoys peaceful atmosphere throughout this pandemic period”, Dandaura added.
It would be recalled that the Executive Order signed by the Rivers State Governor on March 19, 2020 suspended flights to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, Air Force Base and Bonny Airstrip beginning Thursday, March 26, 2020.
The Executive Order signed by Governor Wike is titled: “EXECUTIVE ORDER RVSG – 01 2020 PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 2, 4 AND 8 OF QUARANTINE ACT, CAP. Q2 LAWS OF THE FEDERATION OF NIGERIA 2004 AND REGULATION 11 OF THE QUARANTINE (CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES) REGULATIONS, 2020.”

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COVID-19 Fund: ‘Give N15bn Each To N’Delta Govs’

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A group, Peace, Development, Security and Humanitarian Rights Association of Niger Deltans, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to give N15billion each to governors of Niger Delta states out of the N500billion Coronavirus intervention fund to enable them fight the disease.
It explained that the peculiar terrain of the region necessitated the call.
Briefing newsmen, yesterday, in Warri, Delta State, President of the group, Comrade Mike Tiemo, urged Buhari to prevail on the military to ensure that they maintain rules of engagement while enforcing the sit-at-home order in the region.
He said, “We hail President Muhammadu Buhari for graciously approving the release of N500 billion with immediate effect to combat the scourge of COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.
“Funds should be directly handed over to the state governors like Mr. President did in the case of Lagos State which proved to be a perfect idea because the governors are closer to their people.
“We hereby call on President Buhari based on the strategic terrain of the region to consider the Niger Delta states by giving the governors N15billion each from the proposed N500 billion to enable them expedite action in the purchase and acquisition of all the relevant items needed such as Personal Preventive Equipment (PPE), and other health care facilities.
“We are highly optimistic that this appeal will not be swept under the carpet but should be treated with the seriousness it deserves. This association has implicit confidence in the Niger Delta governors. If the fund is given to them they will judiciously appropriate it in the war against Covid-19.
“The governors have already demonstrated capacity and willingness before the Niger Delta people that if the fund is released to them they will do the needful for the benefit of the region in particular and Nigeria at large.
“We urge President Muhammadu Buhari not to look at the issue with political binoculars. Relief materials should come with some stipends at least N25,000 to each inhabitant of the Niger Delta through the state governors to cushion the negative effects of the lockdown.”
He further urged multinationals in the region support Niger Delta governors and inhabitants of the region at this critical period.
Also speaking, Secretary of the group, Comrade Lucky Ovigue Ohwahwa; Public Relations Officer, Comrade Durojaiye Ogunsamone; and National Mobilising Officer 1, Mr. Patrick Okpomu, urged Niger Deltans to comply with all precautionary instructions.

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Osimhen Tipped To Be New Drogba

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Victor Osimhen can be Ligue 1’s next Didier Drogba, according to former team-mate Nicolas Penneteau.
The 21-year-old Nigerian has lit up French football with Lille this season, scoring 18 goals and finding himself linked with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Barcelona.
After a slow start to his career, Drogba’s last season in Ligue 1 brought 32 goals in all competitions before he moved to Chelsea, and goalkeeper Penneteau, who played with Osimhen at Charleroi, thinks the youngster has similar quality.
“He doesn’t surprise me,” Penneteau told Tidesports source
“When we discovered him, when he first arrived, two clubs refused to sign him because of small physical problems.
“From the first training sessions we saw that he was a player of different class. I said it when he moved to Lille but for me, he might be the next Drogba in the French league.”
While Lille struggled in the Champions League, finishing bottom of their group with just one point, Osimhen adapted well with goals against Chelsea and Ajax.
It has been a rapid rise since joining from Charleroi last year, but Penneteau believes he has everything he needs to continue his ascent.
“If he stays at least another two seasons, he will score goal after goal,” he added.
“He has all the qualities of a modern striker.
“He is fast, he jumps high, he is strong in duels, good on the ball, he can play deep.
“He will get rid of his little imperfections as he plays. He is a phenomenon.”
Osimhen started his career at the Ultimate Strikers Academy in Lagos, Nigeria, before being scouted and signed by Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
He made 12 appearances in the German top flight before being sent on loan to Belgium with Charleroi, who eventually opted to sign him on a permanent deal.
Twenty goals in 36 games in the 2018-19 campaign was enough to tempt Lille into signing him following the departure of their previous star man, Nicolas Pepe, to Arsenal.
Now, it seems likely that Lille’s newest prodigy could also be set for a move to the Premier League in the coming years.

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