The Rivers State Government has assured members of the National Union of Electricity Employees, Rivers and Bayelsa States council that it will look into the alleged incessant intimidation of workers by the management of Bonny Utility Company.
The State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi gave the assurance Tuesday while addressing protesting members of the National Union of Electricity Employees at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Government House, Mr Oguru Fortune Oguru the governor said the present administration would get in touch with the relevant authorities with a view to resolving any existing problem in the establishment.
He thanked members of the union who were on demonstration for bringing the issue to light, assuring that as a labour friendly administration, the Rivers State Government will do its best to settle the matter amicably.
The union had in its position paper read by the Secretary, Comrade M. N. Mbari, alleged that the Bonny Utility Company had enslaved its workers through casualization over the years, refusing them to form a union, thereby breaching the labour law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It said they decided to carry out the protest after exhausting every peaceful means of negotiation, and appealed to the state government to prevail on the company to correct the alleged injustice meted out to the workers.
Similarly, the National Union of Ikwerre Students, University of Port Harcourt chapter and the Iwhuruoha UNIPORT Assembly yesterday embarked on a joint peaceful demonstration to Government House, Port Harcourt to protest the non-appointment of an Ikwerre indigene as Vice Chancellor of the university since its inception in 1975.
Fake Policemen Disrupted Polls In Bayelsa, Kogi, IGP Admits …Says We’re Aware People Planned To Wear Police Uniforms …As Senate Moves To Okay E-Voting For Future Polls
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted Saturday’s governorship polls in parts of Bayelsa and Kogi States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the polls had “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
He spoke with State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs held a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
However, he said an investigation was ongoing, while 11 arrests had been made.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, said that the police were aware of the plan by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said that the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South East by police officers at checkpoints, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted.
A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week.
A copy of the bill, made available to newsmen, also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader.
“At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.
“Any presiding officer who contravenes this provision shall be liable, on conviction, to a minimum of imprisonment of at least five years without an option of fine,” the bill also stipulates.
It prevents INEC from shutting down the central data base until all petitions arising from the elections are determined by a tribunal or court.
“In respect of data of accreditation of voters, including polling unit results, for an election, the commission shall not shut down its central database kept at its national headquarters until all election petitions and appeals pertaining to that election are heard and determined by a tribunal or court.”
On the specific provisions for the adoption of the central database, the bill, which is being sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno State), seeks amendment of Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2010 by introducing a “National Electronic Register of Election Results.”
It states: “The commission shall compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which shall be a database of election results from each polling unit, including collated results of each election conducted by the commission.
“National Electronic Register of Election Results shall be kept by the commission at its national headquarters and any person or political party may obtain from the commission, on payment of reasonable fees as may be determined by the commission, a certified true copy of any election result kept in the National Electronic Register of Election Results for the federation, a state, local government, area council, ward or polling unit, as the case may be and the certified true copy may be in printed or electronic format.”
On electronic voting, the Electoral Reform Bill seeks amendment of Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act and introduced a new provision stating that “the commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”
It was learned that many lawmakers are not comfortable with the additional clause which permits INEC to use any other method it deems fit and may delete that option during the consideration of the bill.
The current law completely prohibits the use of electronic voting as it states: “The use of the electronic voting machine, for the time being, is prohibited.”
The reform bill has also slashed the nomination fees charged by political parties.
Presidential aspirants are to pay not more than N10million while governorship aspirants are to pay N5million.
Specifically, the bill states: “For the purpose of nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues and any payment howsoever named imposed by a political party on an aspirant shall not exceed: N150,000 for a ward councillorship aspirant in the FCT; N250,000 for an area council chairmanship aspirant in the FCT; N500,000 for a House of Assembly aspirant; N1,000,000 for a House of Representatives aspirant; N2,000,000 for a senatorial aspirant; N5,000,000 for a governorship aspirant; and N10,000,000 for a presidential aspirant.”
The Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly had attempted the electoral reform but failed to get the presidential approval at the end.
The bill sought to strengthen internal democracy, reduce the cost of politics, widen political participation and the conduct of free fair and credible elections through technological innovations and an electronic database.
However, there were concerns raised over the enforceability of some of its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in refusing to sign that bill, had said: “I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”
My Govt Belongs To Rivers People, Wike Insists …Says APC’s Victory Reveals Enemies’ Next Target
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has insisted that his government belongs to all Rivers people, saying that it was not a government for any particular group in the state.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the Amanyanabo of Wakirike Kingdom, Okrika and prominent chiefs of Okrika, yesterday, Wike said that the primary goal of his administration was to promote the interest of Rivers State.
The governor said: “This government is not a government of you are from here or there. My government is a government of Rivers State. It is not a government of a particular place.
“Anything that will promote the interest of Rivers State is what I will do. You can be my sister state, if you want to take what belongs to Rivers State, I will not agree. I will not sell Rivers State for any cost. Let’s be our brother’s keeper.”
Wike said with the fall of Bayelsa State to the enemies, the next target of the enemies would be Rivers State.
“Unfortunately, one of our states is gone to the enemies. But God will help us.
“For us who are from Rivers State, we should know that there will be attack on us because the enemy has entered our territory. They will attack us, but with your prayer, Rivers State will prevail”, he said.
Wike praised the Okrika people for the role they played during the last elections.
“The role you played during the last elections showed that when you give your support, you give your support. People should be known for something.
“If you give your word, you give your word. In my entire political career, I have seen that when Okrika people say they want to do something, they will do it. You are different and I commend you”, he said.
Wike warned people against bearing arms, saying that it negates the principle of peace.
He said: “The only reason why people get arms is because the Nigerian Army is now part of elections”.
Wike urged the monarch to use his position to promote peace and development in Okrika, and appealed to him to carry all interest groups along.
He explained that the Rivers State Government would approach the State House of Assembly for the amendment of the name of the stool to read: “the Amanyanabo of Okrika” as requested by the traditional ruler.
In his remarks, the Amanyanabo of Wakirike Kingdom, Okrika, King Alfred Semenitari Abam, congratulated the Rivers State governor on his re-election and the confirmation of his victory by the Supreme Court.
He said that the re-election of Wike was because of his outstanding performance and projects delivery.
He also thanked Wike for the recognition granted his stool after the court judgement.
He, however, appealed to the Rivers State governor to ensure that the name of the stool is changed from Amanyanabo of Wakirike Kingdom, Okrika, to Amanyanabo of Okrika.
Association Wants Old Boys To Assist Alma Mater
The interim President of Government Secondary School, Ogu, Old Students Association (GSSOSA), Hon. Osaki Asobari, has appealed to all old students to assist their alma mater in all ramifications.
He stated that coming together as old students to assist the school will make the school one of the premiere schools in Nigeria.
Hon. Asobari said this on Sunday, shortly after he was appointed the interim President of the association in Port Harcourt.
Government Secondary School, Ogu, in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, in Rivers State, was established in 1972.
The reunion meeting, 15-man interim executive committee to pilot the affairs of the association for one year and it was well attended.
According to him, together they can achieve the aims and objectives of the association sequentially.
“I appeal to every one of us here to place priority on the development of our Alma Mata, because the school has made us what we are today.
With your support, given the caliber of persons the school has produced, the sky will be our limit to Besides, I thank you for giving me and exco the opportunity to serve you for one year”, Hon Asobari said.
Speaking, the Senator representing Rivers South East, Senator George Sekibo, advised members to assist one another and not forget the school.
According to him, without the school he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to attend secondary school.
“The school will soon be 50 years and we know what it is. Some of us were not born then, so we should ensure that we show commitment in developing the school” Senator Sekibo said.
Some dignitaries who were attendance at the meeting include former commissioner for commerce and industry, Hon. Vincent Nemiboka, Rt.Hon. Evans Bipi, Rev. Francis Ebenezer, Cdr. Oforibo Aminadoki(rtd), and Chairman of Okrika Local Government Area, Hon. Philemon Iwoloma.
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