Lawmakers in the Rivers State House of Assembly have warned one of its members –Evans Bapakaye Bipi to desist from impersonating the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree.
The lawmakers made the declaration in a press statement signed by 26 members stating the position of the majority of members on the recent crisis that rocked the Assembly.
The statement chronicled the events leading to the purported impeachment claim by 5 members of the House and urged the public to disregard the false claims.
“The attention of the Rivers State House of Assembly has been drawn to the plethora of stories and conjectures that have constituted the bulk analysis at the public domain on the crisis of Tuesday 9th of July, 2013… the House leadership received a communication from the Executive to amend the Rivers State Appropriation Law 2013. Sequel to this, the House reconvened on the 9th of July, 2013.”
“Following the reconvening of the House on 9th of July, 2013, five members of the Rivers State House of Assembly (Evans Bipi, Okechukwu Michael Chinda, Kelechi Nwogu, Victor Ihunwo and Martins Amaewhule) in alliance with the Rivers State Police Command and their thugs, carried out unprovoked attack and assault on members including the Speaker (Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree), the Leader of the House (Hon. Chidi Lloyd) and Hon. Wanjoku Chikere Azubuike.
Thereafter they made a spirited but unsuccessful attempt to impeach the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly in obvious disregard of the amplifying procedures set out in section 92 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeraia Order 12 and Order 28 of the standing orders of the Rivers State House of Assembly.”
“Since the botched impeachment attempt, one Hon. Evans Bipi has rather surreptitiously impersonated the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly in Defiance and gross violation of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has gone ahead to make publications in the national media. We hereby call on the public to disregard the impostor (Hon. Evans Bapakaye Bipi) and his fabricated fallacies which is targeted at misinforming the general public,” the statement read.
The lawmakers explained that the State Assembly acted within its powers when it suspended the Obio/Akpor Local Governmet Council which is believed to be one of the underlying issues fueling the crisis.
“By virtue of the provisions of section 4 sub (6) and (7) (a-c) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended), the state House of Assembly is vested with legislative powers to make laws for the peace, governance and order of a state. Section 7(1) of the constitution says it is the responsibility of the House of Assembly to make laws for the existence, establishment, composition, structure, finance and functions of Local Councils. Section 100(1-5) further espouses the powers of the Assembly to make laws.
Thus in line with the above provisions the Rivers State House of Assembly enacted the Local Government Law of Rivers State No.2 of 2012. Section 64 sub-section (1)-(4) of the Local Government Law of Rivers State No.2 of 2012 gives the power of suspension of Local Government Council to the Assembly.”
“In compliance with the above provisions, when the question was put on the interim report on the committee on local government on the issue. 23 members voted for the suspension and 5 members voted against.”
They stated that the views of 5 members out of 32 should not be capable of inhibiting the Assembly’s legislative duties.
“In compliance with our legislative duties, we have had cause to vote on motions, bills and resolutions that have impacted positively on the citizens of Rivers state, and if a tiny minority of 5 out of 32 members have dissenting views, that does not impugn on the views of the majority.”
The lawmakers expressed their continued support for the Speaker of the Assembly, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree and the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.
“We shall continue to support our amiable governor Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and his people-friendly policies aimed at lifting our state from the shackles of a small political militia desirous of lording over and looting the treasury of our dear state.”
They also pledged their support and cooperation to the DIG Philemon Leha led fact-finding team sent by the Inspector General of Police as well as the Senate Committee on Local Government fact-finding mission.
They however disregarded a second team of police investigation into the matter. “…We totally dissociate ourselves from the second team of Police Officers led by a commissioner of police and Senator George T. Sekibo.”
The statement called on the Federal Government to ensure that there is peace and security in Rivers State, while the lawmakers assured the people of the state of their commitment to uphold the constitution.
“We reassure our constituents that we shall continue to support and fight for the truth and defend the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which we swore to uphold. We shall remain resolute in our resolve to defend our state from political predators scavenging for cheap popularity and a harvest of political fortunes.”
The statement was signed by Honourables Golden Ngozi Chioma; Innocent B. Barikor; Josiah John Olu; Ibiso Nwuche; Belema Okpokiri; Legbosi Nwidadah; Andrew Anderson Miller; Augustine Ngo; Ben Horsfall; Okechukwu Nwaogu; Victor Amadi; Azubike Chikere Wanjoku; Victoria Nyeche; Benibo Anabraba; Irene Inimgba; Felicia Barizasi-Tane; Aye Atamah Pepple; Onari Brown; Gift Wokocha; Ewor Nname Robinson; Lucky Odili; Chidi Julius Lloyd; Chigbo Eligwe; Leyii Kwanee; Tonye Harry and the Speaker Otelemaba Amachree.
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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