Sequel to penultimate week’s crisis at the Rivers State House of Assembly, following a failed attempt by five members of the House to impeach the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, last week, the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the events that took place on July 9 and 10 in the Assembly.
Inaugurating the 8-man Commission, led by Justice B.A. Georgewill, Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Tele Ikuru, who represented the Governor, charged members of the Commission to investigate and ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the crisis at the Assembly on Tuesday, 9th and Wednesday, 10th July, 2013.
The commission is also mandated to identify those directly and indirectly involved, the number of persons injured or threatened with injury, ascertain properties destroyed, their owners and the valued of such properties, as well as ascertain whether internal or external persons or factors outside the Assembly influenced or were involved in the crisis, and to what extent.
They are also to investigate any other matter or matters that may come to the knowledge of the commission in the course of its deliberations not covered by in the terms of reference and submit their recommendations on or before October 15, 2013.
Reacting to the inauguration of the commission, political observers hailed this action, expressing the hope that it would bring about peace in the state.
Also in the week under review, the Rivers State Police Command declared wanted the Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, in connection with the July 9 fracas on the floor of the House. The Police said he was wanted for alleged conspiracy, attempted murder, wounding and willful damage. Hon. Lloyd was alleged to have attempted to murder the legislator representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 11, Hon. Michael Chinda during the attempted impeachment of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, by five members.
The Leader of the House had, through his Counsel, Beneolisa Nwaofor, prayed the court to stop the Police from arresting him.
But the presiding Judge, Justice Esor Teetito declined to grant the application and directed that the Police be notified, while adjourning the matter to July 25, 2013.
He justified the adjournment with the explanation that “the nature of the application is the type that the respondent should be put on notice — to enable them come and defend their actions”.
Barely hours after the Rivers State Police Command declared Hon. Lloyd wanted, the Inspector-General of Police invited him to Abuja. This development left many wondering if there was no synergy in the operations of the office of the Inspector-General of Police and the State Police Command. The invitation by the IGP, it was observed, should have come first before declaring the Leader wanted.
In another development, the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers in the House vowed to defend the State from those they described as: “political predators” in the on-going political crisis in the state. They also warned the leader of the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers, Hon. Evans Bipi to desist from parading himself as the Speaker of the House.
In a statement entitled, “Our position”, and signed by 26 of them, they vowed to defend the State from political predators “scavenging for cheap popularity and a harvest of political fortunes”. They urged the public to ignore Bipi’s claim to the leadership of the Assembly.
Responding, Hon. Bipi argued that he was duly elected as Speaker, following an impeachment of Rt. Hon. Amachree.
Rivers Community Charges Security Agencies On Kidnapped Victim’s Whereabouts
Some concerned indigenes of Agwut-Obolo Community in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, have called on security agencies to intensify the search for the whereabouts of Elder Otungban Francis, who was recently kidnapped by unknown gunmen in the community.
It would be recalled that some hoodlums recently stormed the community in two outboard engine boats and whisked away their victim after disposing him and his security aides of their belongings.
An indigene of the community who gave his name simply as Mr Brown, described the incident as one too many, stating that the community is now living in fear due to the activities of kidnappers.
Brown stressed the need for the various security agencies to intensify their efforts in search of the old man with a view to rescuing him alive.
Also speaking, another concerned indigene of the community, Taribo Awaji-Inomida Kacham, who described the incident as barbaric, said that kidnapping is now a regular feature in the community and called on the abductors to release him unconditionally.
She also called on the state government and the security agencies to investigate the incessant kidnap incidents in Andoni, maintaining that those found culpable should be arrested and prosecuted.
Similarly, the president, Andoni Youth Federation, Comrade Mike Amachree also condemned the kidnap of Elder Francis Otungban and assured that he has confidence in the government and security agencies in rescuing him alive without any ransom.
Several phone calls made to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) on the matter were not answered.
N32.5m Fraud: Pastors Bag Jail Terms In Delta
Justice F. N. Azinge of the Delta State High Court sitting in Otor-Udu, has convicted and sentenced one Pastor Glory Okeoghene Aberefa and Reverend Vincent Okpogo to 16 and 10 years imprisonment, respectively.
The duo, alongside their company, Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited, were prosecuted by the Benin Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
Under the guise of running a finance company, the convicts defrauded dozens of unsuspecting members of the public of millions of naira, through their fraudulent Mustard Seed Micro Investment Limited.
They were arraigned on 16-count charges, bordering on conspiracy to steal and stealing, contrary to Section 516 and 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, CAP 21, Vol 1, Laws of Delta State of Nigeria, 2006.
On June 19, 2017, they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
EFCC legal team members, V. O. Agbaje and K. U. Udus had acted on a petition and investigation which fingered them in the stealing of the sum of N32,516,620.
Pastor Aberefa was sentenced to one year imprisonment on each of the 16 counts, while the second defendant, Reverend Okpogo was sentenced to one year imprisonment each on count seven to 16.
The sentences are to run consecutively.
The convicts, already in prison, were earlier jailed 17 years by both the Federal High Court, Asaba and Delta State High Court, Warri.
They would now serve a new sentence, which Justice Azinge said would take effect after completion of the extant 17 years imprisonment.
Rivers CP Tasks Officers On Dedication …Decorates 19 New SPs
The Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, has charged the 19 newly promoted police officers to consider their promotion as a call for more commitment to duty and hard work.
The 19 decorated officers, who were promoted to the rank of Superintendents of Police (SPs) include the command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Nnamdi Omoni.
Decorating the promoted officers, Mukan, encouraged them to be diligent in their duties and assured of his administration’s support to ensure that officers of the command carry out their duties efficiently.
The state commissioner of police used the opportunity to commend the Inspector General of Police for finding the officers worthy of the promotion, just as he charged them to ensure transparency and good sense of judgment in the discharge of their responsibilities.
Responding on behalf of the newly promoted officers, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who is currently the public relations officer of the command, assured that they would do all within their reach to justify the confidence reposed in them.