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Amaechi, Abe, Others Express Shock Over Harry’s Death

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Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi has received with shock and disbelief the death of the former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, David Iyofor, Governor Amaechi described Harry’s death as deeply shocking and traumatic for him, recalling with nostalgia and fond memories the life and times of Tonye Harry.
“I am still traumatized by the sad news of the death of Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry. I still find it impossible to come to terms that Tonye is no more. I was with him, by his hospital bed shortly after he fell ill, and everyone was very hopeful that he was going to come out of the health crisis, stronger and better. Sadly, he couldn’t make it but God knows best,” the governor said.
“Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry will be dearly missed. He was a thorough and distinguished legislator, an astute politician who believed that politics and public office should be about service to the people. Over the years, he worked very hard and diligently to make Rivers State a better place. His contributions to the legislative development of the state were indeed enormous. We worked together, very closely; he was a friend and brother that will be dearly missed. He has left a vacuum that will be very difficult to fill,” Amaechi added.
“He left behind a loving wife and wonderful family that will really miss him. But God knows best. I pray God Almighty to give them the strength and fortitude to bear this great loss.”
Harry was the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State legislature while Amaechi was Speaker for the eight years of the Dr Peter Odili administration.
Also speaking, the Rivers State Deputy Governor, Engr. Tele Ikuru, said that the death of former Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry, has robbed the state and nation of an erudite politician par excellence whose contributions to the growth of democracy cannot be quantified.
Engr. Ikuru was reacting to the news of the demise of the late Speaker and lawmaker who was representing Degema Constituency in the state House of Assembly.
“The news of the death of my friend and brother, Tonye Harry, came to me as a shock. I feel bad about what has happened. I feel bad that we have lost a gentleman who has not only helped to raise the benchmark of legislative business but also added great value to our democracy. He served us, as a state, well and helped in no small measure to stabilize the polity,” Ikuru said.
The deputy governor prayed for the repose of his soul, urging his bereaved family to take solace in the fact that he served well as a father, politician and leader.
Similarly, the Senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District, Senator Magnus Abe has described the demise of Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry as a great shock and a devastating tragedy.
Rt. Hon. Harry, a one-time Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly was Deputy Speaker while Senator Abe was Minority Leader during the Fourth Assembly.
Abe said, “Tonye was a methodical lawmaker, reliable friend, brother, team player and an astute politician whose wealth of experience furthered the stabilization of the Fourth Assembly” and contributed immensely to the development of Rivers State.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), who disclosed that he was horrified by the news, stated that the tragedy was a great loss to the state, country and democracy.
“Tonye left us at the time his country, family and beloved people of Degema Constituency needed him most”.
Abe offered deepest condolences on behalf of his family and the South-East Senatorial district to the government and people of Rivers State and the deceased family, praying God to grant them the fortitude to bear the painful loss.
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Ibigoni Daddy Pokima has described the death of the former Speaker and member representing Degema Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly,  Rt. Hon. Tonye Ezekiel Harry as a rude shock and huge loss to the state and the nation.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Rev. Success Ekine, Hon Pokima described Rt. Hon. Harry as a caring father, frontline legislator, and a leader-par-excellence, stressing that his demise at this critical period in the political history of Rivers State was a loss too many.
His words: ”Rt Hon. Tonye  Harry’s death has created a great vacuum in the political and legislative engineering that will take a very long time to be filled in the state and the nation”.
Hon. Pokima expressed his heart felt condolence to the bereaved family and the good people of  Degema, and prayed God to grant the family he left behind, especially his wife, Barrister Sotonye Harry and the children, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
However, Hon. Pokima has also declared a week-long mourning in the area from today in honour of the late political leader.

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2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence

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The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said that the next President should be a Christian to ensure balance in leadership.
YOWICAN also said rotation of the office of the President will promote equity, unity and peace.
The youths further protested the activities of bandits and kidnappers, threatening to resort to self-defence if nothing is urgently done by the government.
They warned bandits and kidnappers to desist from perpetrating evil and put a stop to the ongoing kidnappings and killings.
The Christian association also pledged collaboration with Muslims and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) towards peace building.
These were contained in a communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of YOWICAN and read by its National President, Belusochukwu Enwere.
Enwere said, “The next President should come 2023 should be a Christian because the present administration, the president is a Muslim and so the President should rotate amongst the Christians and Muslims so that there will be balance in the leadership of Nigeria.
“We have competent Christian leaders who can represent and manage the affairs of this country. We urge our leaders to fully participate in politics so that we can produce a good president for Nigeria.
“As such the emergence of a Christian and youthful President come 2023 will be a true expression of equity, fairness and justice for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“That YOWICAN shall continue to collaborate and work in concert with brothers from the Muslim faith to pursue the desired peace, unity and progress of the nation; and more particularly under the auspices of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC),” the group said.
“YOWICAN decries the increasing rate of insecurity in Nigeria, yet commends the efforts of government and security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of bandits, killer herdsmen, insurgents etc.
“YOWICAN in the performance of Christian tenets and faith believes strongly in peaceful coexistence, but this piety should not be construed as cowardice, therefore kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, terrorists and unknown gun men should not push Christian youths to the extreme, such as to make them consider deploying self defence strategies as the last option,” Enwere said.
According to him, despite the efforts so far made in combating crime, YOWICAN observes the urgent need to curb the rising wave of attacks, killings, destruction of lives, properties, farmlands and livelihood of innocent citizens within the Northern states, and specifically within Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.
The CAN youths demanded the immediate release of all abductees and particularly the students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who have been in captivity.
The NEC meeting held at the National Christian Centre on Saturday was attended by National Executive Members, Zonal Leaders, State Leaders (drawn from the 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT) and representatives from the Blocs/denominations under CAN.

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Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC

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The Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) has advised the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, warning that such could lead to a national crisis.
OPC said this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, weeks after the raid on the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), during which two persons were killed.
The statement also followed Igboho’s arrest in the Republic of Benin after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
In the statement, the group “flayed Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group described the “treatment meted out to Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government ought to know that the citizens have rights and that such rights must be protected under the law.”
Oguntimehin said, “Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the Federal Government handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the Federal Government must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The publicity secretary urged the Republic of Benin to be fair with Igboho as he revealed that the rights activist will be facing immigration-related offences in the country, adding that he can also seek asylum to ensure his safety.
He warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
He said, “The Federal Government has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy.”
The statement said Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have no extradition agreement, adding that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Oguntimehin said, “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence and the Government of Benin Republic had considered all that to be untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26 to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
He pointed out that the rights activist had been peaceful with his agitation, as he urged traditional leaders not to ignore him at his trying time.

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Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death

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The Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers has commiserated with former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili over the death of his elder brother, Chief Fidelis Obi Odili.
The Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1 (rtd), said monarchs and people of his state were saddened by the bereavement of the Odili family.
The Emir, who was accompanied by the Andoma of Domia, Alhaji Ahmaou Aliyu; and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rivers State, Engineer Emeka Woke, stated this during a condolence visit to Odili in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He described Odili as a very generous, hospitable personality and one of the best leaders that Nigeria has produced.
To this end, he declared that whatever affects him (Odili), affects people all over the country.
“We have come here to commiserate with you, to pass our condolences to you on behalf of all of our people, the people of Nasarawa State and our respective kingdoms.
“As one of the elders of this nation, very respectful elder of this nation, anything that affects you, will touch us, will affect us. We ask you to take heart.”
He further added, “You’re one of the best we have in this country. You’re very generous, hospitable. Your Excellency, not because you’re here, this is a statement of fact. You’re one of the best that this country has produced.”
The Emir of Lafia, prayed God to grant the Odili’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved one.
He also urged God to continue to keep Odili in good health so that he’ll continue all the good works that he has been doing and will continue to do for the nation.
“On behalf of all the chiefs that are not here, we commiserate with you”, he said.
Responding, the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, said he felt honoured by the condolence visit and words of encouragement by the Emir of Lafia.
“I can’t find words appropriate to thank you for this consoling honour.”
Odili said he felt elated by the kind gesture of the Emir of Lafia.
According to him, the visit has further demonstrated the importance the Emir attaches to his relationship with the people of Rivers State.
“You’ve come with your colleague to pay this condolence visit, which was totally unplanned and unscheduled. But, like they say, people make out time for what they consider important.
“We feel honoured by your gesture, and so, we want to thank you and your colleague for this rare honour and for your kind words. Your friendship with our state goes back in history.
“Your new position in Nasarawa State has not altered it, rather it has strengthened it”, Odili added.

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