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Unease In Yenagoa Over Gun Attacks

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In the past few weeks, something akin to the thug of War has been taking place in different parts of the Bayelsa State. There has been cult related fighting. Anxiety and tension has been at its peak at the state capital, Yenagoa while the stories coming from the coastal communities of the state are not different.

The incidence of atrocities and other abnormalities has become the other of the day as violence and illegalities have seemed the norm since the last two weeks in the state.

Last Weekend, unknown gunmen attacked the maternal home of the Bayelsa State governor, Chief Timipre Sylva in Okpoma Community of Brass Local Government councils, while the governor’s uncle, an 83 years-old retired major was Manhandled. The attack on the governor’s maternal home, Okpoma Community, is coming few days after the men of the Joint Military Task Force code named Operation Restore Hope were deployed into the streets of the state capital following rising cases of attacks on homes of political office holders and alleged cult killings of over seven persons in the state.

The home of the impeached Deputy Governor, Peremobowei Ebebi at Aleibiri community of Ekeremor Local Government, the home of the State chairman of the Sanitation Authority, Chief Reginal Dede in Akassa Local Council and the Senior Special Assistants to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Mike were also attacked in the last few days.

The attack on the Okpoma home of the governor was reportedly launched at about 4.30am on Saturday by unidentified men in two speed boats. The armed youths, numbering about eighteen invaded the community and vandalised homes.

Some indigenes of the community, including the state governor, who visited the community to assess the extent of damage, claimed that though no life was lost in the incident, the State Commissioner for Information, Strategy and Orientation, Hon. Nathan Egba told newsmen after the tour of the governor to his maternal home in Okpoma to assess the damage, said the series of attacks and violent actions in the state maybe a coordinated effort by some persons to disrupt the existing peace in the state and embarrass the state governor. Egba,s aid “it is obvious that may be part of a coordinated attack to make the Bayelsa environment unsafe. The state has enjoyed peace because the state governor has invested much in sustenance of the peace and development of the state. The governor’s record at achieving and maintaining peace in the state may have threatened some individuals.”

Similarly, at the early hours of Monday, the country home of the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Nestor Binabor was attacked, even as a dynamite attack at his house did not have the desired effect on his building due to the resistance put up by the youths of the community which equally led to the killing of Mr. Esanpou Nainar in the clash at the waterside, investigations by newsmen revealed that the attackers of the home of the Speaker, situated close to the waterside of the Okunbiri Community, arrived the town at about 12.30 am in two speed boats and immediately moved to the old building owned by the Speaker to plant dynamites.

But some youths of Okunbiri, according to indigenes of the community, had mobilised and moved in two directions to stop the attack and apprehend those involved. But the invaders, according to the youths, sighted the movement and rained volley of gun shots at the youth group in the counter force boat.

The Speaker, who was deputy Speaker during the impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei, however in his recuperating mood said though the threats received by the members of the house of Assembly during the impeachment exercise were reported to the State Commissioner of Police and other relevant agencies in the state, saying we received lots of text messages on plans to terminate, damage and injure many of us, even as he added that the continued violence in the state is as a result of the recent impeachment of the former deputy governor Peremobowei Ebebi.

Just as the story of insecurity was dying down, the attack on King Johnny Tumer, a close confident of Mr. President, broke out. The report was that the attackers invaded private home at Opueme in Ogbia local government area while vital documents were removed and police guiding the house were dispossessed of the weapons.

But what would have caused such large scale of violence within a short space of time in the state. Some pundits have averred that because of crunch facing the state “free money” from government unlike before are no longer vailable. This, many people believed is because government official tight hand and “chop alone’ hence the violence to draw attention. One school of thought also point to the velvet glove treatment being given to ex-militant leaders who live like kings in the government House to the exclusion of so many of their followers now roaming about in the streets.

However, The On Sunday Tide gathered that most government functionaries no longer keep money in the banks hence they constructed reservoir in the homes. This new method of keeping their loots far from the prying eyes of EFCC, was leaked to the boys. In fact this was the reason for the Akasa raid. The raid paid up handsomely, hence the attack at Okpoama and Oupeme.

The Tide On Sunday further learnt that more top functionaries may face attacks on their country homes as most of the boys they used are disenchanted because of the peanuts they are getting.

On the killings in the streets of Yenagoa, it was discovered that far from what Police described as cult war. It is something more than that. A source told The Tide On Sunday that before  the  impeachment of the former deputy governor, some ‘bad’ boys were contracted to do some jobs with promise that each of them will get two million and a ticket to travel outside the country for safety. The masters that contracted them reneged on the promised and the boys threatened to talk, and the ploy to silent them led to what has been seen as cult war.

However, a retired army colonel from the state who chose to be anonymous was of a different opinion, he said there could be fifth columnists in Chief Sylva’s administration that are sponsoring all the atrocities in other to discredit the administration. The earlier the governor fishes out this columnist the better for him.

The ex-army intelligence officer said he has spotted about three different groups working at cross-purpose; they all belong to Mr Governor’s group. According to him each of this group are competing for recognition, hence carry out a lot of activities that the governor may not be aware but is telling on his administration.

However, no matter who is responsible for the insecurity in the state, a lot of social, economic and political harm has been done. In the first place the much talked about investors may be difficult to convince on the safety of their investment in a state that more in the news for the wrong developments.

It is on this note that many believed that Chief Sylva should hearken to the suggestion of those who advocate for a cabinet reshufflement.

Political pundits are of the opinion that if nothing is done to address the situation in the state, state of emergency would not be a far fetched scenario.

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Metro

Rivers, A Global Investment Hub

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Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the  early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.”  He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of  Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws

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In a bid to restore the marriage of a certain couple in Port Harcourt, ( names withheld) the family members and parents of the wife has forced the husband to an undertaken that he will no longer used their daughter as a punch bag. The Port Harcourt Metro gathered the parents of the wife are relatively well to do very supportive to the upkeep of their daughters family. Their intervention came as a result of repeated cases of physical and psychological abuses of their daughter by her husband. It was also gathered that the parents of the wife had made moves to terminate the relationship to secure the life of their daughter but she bluffed their moves and stuck to the marriage based on her professed love for the husband. The husband was said to have been invited to an intense family session during which he was asked to sign an undertaken to be of good conduct and act as a responsible man or gets his wife forfeited. The session became dramatic when the repentant husband and in-law was said to have broken down in tears , with confessions that he was always propelled by some incontrollable forces to act the way he did.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign

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As part of measures of promoting effective medical care at the grassroots, a body under the auspices of Medical  Xray and Imaging Technicians Association of Nigeria says plans has been put in place for mass sensitisation on the need for greater access to medical services at the rural areas. National President of the body, Rev Akiene Nunyor who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the sensitisation was targeted at rousing the sensitivities of critical stakeholders towards improving health care at the rural areas as well as creating awareness among the rural dwellers. He pointed out that the absence of ultra sound facilities at rural communities was responsible for high mortality among pregnant women in rural communities, as they lacked access to the facilities. Its difficult for women to go for scan exercises for proper medical check at the rural areas. In times of emergencies before they get to the urban areas that have the facilities it becomes late. He called for a synergy between the private sector and government especially in the area of research, training and manpower development in the health sector,  He assured that the body was ready to provide the professional regulatory services for middle manpower development and standards in medical practice. While commending the Rivers state Government for its efforts in promoting care in the state he called for a “ Public/ Private sector  driven “approach in promoting effective health sector delivery.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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