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Senate Passes 2nd Constitutional Amendment, Today

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Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will today, make good its promise to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to accelerate the process of the passage of its request for time extension in the electoral schedule.

The Upper chamber has also distanced itself from the alleged insertion of a clause for ‘right to first refusal,’ saying there was no such clause proposed in the second alteration.

By the passage of the second alteration, INEC will have more time to ‘play with’ as the commission will have to hold elections not earlier than sixty days before the May 29 hand-over date and not later than thirty days before the May 29 date which remains sacrosanct in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Speaking to Senate correspondents, after plenary, yesterday, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information, Senator Ayogu Eze said the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendment may likely lay its report today while the Senate is expected to also consider the report and vote on it at the same time.

 “I want to say that we meant everything we say. Hopefully, by this week or so, we will be done with the constitutional amendment and transmit it… “I want to put it on record that we are doing our own beat, whatever is required of us we are ready to do it to ensure that this process goes on smoothly

“All things being equal, we were hoping to lay it today (yesterday) and vote tomorrow (today). But our technical committee is doing its work and we are meeting this afternoon. It is very likely that we can lay and vote tomorrow. Very very likey that we can lay it and vote tomorrow and then wait for the house because, until they pass it in the House, we cannot transmit.”

Senator Ayogu Eze also elaborated on the Senate ‘s interface with Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega over the media report, which he said complained that NASS’s delay on the amendment may derail the 2011 elections.

He confirmed that the INEC Chairman’s denial of the allegation, and his follow up vote of confidence on the Senate has further ensured that NASS has really been doing all things possible to ensure a hitch free general election.

“I hope that you listen to Jega. He said we were doing everything possible and that the National Assembly has not constituted any distraction or any delay in the process of amending the constitution of the Electoral Act and has provided support to INEC to ensure that we have  free, fair and credible elections

“I want to put it on record that we are doing our own beat, whatever is required of us, we are ready to do it to ensure that this process goes on smoothly.

I was also very happy that one of the most vocal critics of the process, Mr. Femi Falana was here and he confirmed that the civil society group is satisfied with the work we are doing to ensure that the process of holding free, fair and credible elections is on course”

On the issue of the clause right of first refusal, Senator Eze said the senate had never contemplated that and the committee on the constitution amendment has not come across such in the proposals for alteration in the constitution.

 “I also know that the media has been awash with insinuation that in the National Assembly we have inserted the clause of right of first refusal.

I want to state categorically that that is not true. Nigerians are free to bring in whatever views they feel, but it will be the views of Nigerians that will prevail.

This National Assembly is very patriotic and we will not make personal and selfish laws that will serve the interest of the National Assembly alone as is being insinuated outside. We are not making any laws for ourselves.

“I am not aware that that clause is being considered by any of the chambers or any of the committees or sub-committees dealing with the process of amending the constitution of the Electoral Act. I want to clarify that before Nigerians.

The Senate spokesman also denied the insinuation that the lawmakers are only rejecting it because it is meant to favour the leadership of the National Assembly and not all members.

At a public hearing held at the National Assembly on the clauses for the second alteration in the Electoral Act, Monday, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said it was comfortable with the ongoing second alteration of the constitution to extend the time-line for next year’s general elections in the country.

Speaking at the opening of a one day public hearing on the constitution second Alteration Bill, 2010 at the National Assembly, Abuja, Professor Jega said they had been privileged to have obtained and read a copy of the draft bill. According to him, the time they had asked for had been adequately provided for.

The Senate President, David Mark, noted that the National Assembly had no ulterior motive in the Constitutional Amendment as is being insinuated by the public.

Nneka Amaechi- Nnadi, Abuja

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LG Boss Uncovers Bloodstained Army Uniform At ‘Cocaine Village’

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The newly inaugurated Chairman of Eleme Local Government Area, Obarilormate Ollor, has gone to ‘Cocaine village’ at Eleme Trailer Park to execute Governor Nyesom Wike’s quit order on residents of the illegal settlement when he made a shock discovery in one of the rooms.

Ollor had visited the area notorious for drugs and crimes, last Sunday, along with some security personnel to serve the quit notice on residents but met the area deserted—an indication that someone had alerted them about the visit.

Out of curiosity, the chairman opened one of the rooms in the ghetto-like settlement, and found the bloodstained uniform of a soldier, his knife and ATM card.

The chairman and his entourage had expressed suspicion that criminals in the area had killed the owner of the uniform and robbed him.

Ollor said, “Remember that a week ago, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike, gave a directive that all illegal structures be removed. As the chief security officer of the local government, I am under that obligation.

 “What we are doing here today is to inform them in advance and to remind them that the ultimatum still holds. So, on or before June 26, they should move out.

“What we have here is a mixed population of criminals, armed robbers, drug dealers, and even those who allegedly trade in human parts. Right now, we just found the uniform of an Army man who probably may have been killed. His blood all over the room and uniform, his knife and ATM card, which we have given to the police.”

The Rivers State Police Command has reportedly swung into action to unravel the perpetrators of the alleged crime.

Spokesman of the police, SP Nnamdi Omoni, said that the command had received reports about criminal activities in the area, including the alleged killing of a soldier.

Omoni said, “We have gotten complaints and reports of drug traffickers, criminal elements, human organ dealers, kidnappers and more from there.

“Though we have been carrying out investigation into all of the reports but thank God, we now have a good lead and evidence.

“We have been mandated by the state government to carry out massive arrest within the environs to ensure we arrest and prosecute all those persons involved.”

Residents said that the ‘Cocaine village’ is a haven for drug dealers and users, adding that security operatives also patronize the area.

An aide of the Eleme LG chairman, who spoke off-the-record said, “The governor received an intelligence report that the slum harbours criminals and drug addicts who carry out series of crimes, human organ trafficking, abductions and many other criminal acts in the LGA and state at large.

“We learnt also that some security men troop in there off and on to buy drugs and indulge in one crime or the other.

 “The military uniform stained with blood, knife and motorcycle discovered were found in one of the rooms we opened.

“The badge of the military uniform was removed and there were heavy blood stains on the uniform.

“We went there with some police men as assigned to us by the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Eboka Friday”, he added.

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Insecurity Hasn’t Hindered Projects’ Execution In Rivers, Wike Affirms

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says that his administration has fearlessly tackled insecurity headlong and created an enabling climate for smooth delivery of quality development projects.
Wike made the assertion at the inauguration of 16.2-kilometre long Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi Road project in Omuma Local Government Area of the state, yesterday.
The governor noted that while other states of the country were still struggling with issues of insecurity, Rivers State was witnessing harvest of development projects with the non-stop inauguration and flag-off ceremonies to their amazement.
“Don’t fight anybody that God has blessed. Don’t fight the state that God has blessed. People are talking about insecurity. We are talking about commissioning and flagging-off of projects. Is it easy? If it is easy, let them try it.”
Wike asserted that it is only states controlled by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) like Rivers that has created a peaceful climate for the citizens while the government delivers democratic dividends.
“Those who say they don’t like what PDP is doing, they have no choice but to like it. You can see what the party (PDP) is doing. We are flagging-off and commissioning projects. Whether they like it or not, we are in charge.”
The governor said it is obvious that Rivers State is no longer on the same level with states that cannot provide dividend of democracy to their people.
Wike said the performance of his administration has restored confidence in Rivers people and they can walk with their heads raised high.
“Rivers people, are you not proud of your state? If you’re a Rivers man, anywhere you go, raise your shoulder high and say that you’re a Rivers man and woman. “They (other parties) can only jealous us, but they cannot do anything. We are of different class. We are not on the same level with them.”
Speaking further, Wike commended the member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. KelechiNwogufor his loyalty to PDP.
He also extolled him for his commitment to the welfare of Omuma people and being a trusted ally to him.
At the behest of Nwogu, Wike promised Omuma people that his administration would reconstruct the Umuakali-Eberi Road in appreciation of their support to the PDP.
Inaugurating the project, former President of the Senate, Senator Adolphus Wabara, noted how Wike has redefined governance and broken the jinx of non-performance associated with second tenure governors.
According to him, the approach to development that the governor has adopted stands him out as a much sought-after leader who should be consulted in solving critical national issues related to governance.
“With my experience in elective politics, second terms of most governors are dull; some governors will just go to sleep because they don’t have anything to offer. But you are still commissioning projects, as if you’re not even going to leave.
“Your developmental approach, your developmental plans, and formula should make you an international consultant to the failing government. Because, quite frankly, the magic, I mean, nobody knows except you. You do it with ease, you do it with happiness.”
Providing the description of the project, Rivers State Commissioner for Works, EllokaTasie-Amadi said the Omueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Eberi link road in Omuma Local Government Area was another genuine efforts of the Wike administration to ease the transportation difficulties experienced by rural dwellers in the Omuma.
“Many of these rural projects go unsung probably because the residents are not social media savvy, as in the case of Omuma, who are predominantly farmers, or probably because SM activities are not a part of their past times as it is with city dwellers.
“It may shock you to know that for every kilometre of road we have built in the city we have built 12kms or more in the rural areas. This is a conservative estimate I would like you to ponder upon when you get home.”
He further stated, “This project is a 16.2km long, 10.3m wide road project which has 4.3km of drains. The roads are marked and have a total of 27 road signs to aid driving and enhance public safety.”

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Wike Flags Off Abonnema/ Obonoma Sandfilling Project, Today

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All is now set for the flag-off of the Abonnema/Obonoma Sandfilling project in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
A statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, yesterday, said that, “the project will sandfill 42 hectares of land that will help expand Abonnema and Obonoma Towns.
“It is in fulfilment of the promise made by Governor Nyesom Wike during the commissioning of the Abonnema Ring Road”.
The statement further added that, “The rich culture and tradition of the Kalabaris will be fully on display at the event.
“Please, note that all Covid-19 protocols will be observed at the event”, it stressed.

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