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16 Political Parties Demand Removal Of Rivers REC …Protest In Abuja

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President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (middle), with former president Olusegun Obasanjo (right), Governor Chibuike Amaechi (2nd right) and Senator Chris Ngige, savouring Buhari’s victory at the polls in Abuja, recently.

President-elect, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (middle), with former president Olusegun Obasanjo (right), Governor Chibuike Amaechi (2nd right) and Senator Chris Ngige, savouring Buhari’s victory at the polls in Abuja, recently.

Sixteen political parties in Rivers State yesterday staged a protest at the Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abuja, calling for the immediate removal of the Rivers State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Dame Gesila Khan ahead of Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.
The parties, under the umbrella body of Coalition of Political Parties in Rivers State, said they had lost confidence in the electoral officer who they alleged had been compromised.
Members of the parties, in their numbers, carried placards with various inscriptions to press home their demand for Khan’s removal.
They also called for the removal of the Head of Operations at INEC, Engr. Bocco Ekong, for conniving with the REC.
The political parties accused the REC of conniving with the ýPeoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and it’s governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike.
The group, in its petition  addressed to the chairman of the commission, noted that for there to be free, fair and transparent election in the state, the REC must be changed.
The petition reads in part: “we believe that the commission has a lot of competent hands that can conduct free and credible elections in Rivers State. Our only request is that Khan gives way so that the votes of the Rivers people will count.
“The commission has done so much to organize a credible election in other part of the country and we believe that Rivers state should not be an exception.
“The acts of Khan are all over the streets and markets in Rivers state. Keeping her in the state is as good as just announcing names of winners before the election because that is what she will do in the state.”
The 16 political parties maintained that the state REC was “hand in gloves with the perpetrators of the activities that led to impugning the integrity of the March 28th election as it was clear to all objective observers that without her complicity in the activities, the subversion of the electoral process would not have been possible.
The political parties that protested at INEC Headquarters and also signed a petition addressed to the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, are Democratic Peoples’ Party (DPP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), Mega Progressive People’s Party (MPPP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Action Alliance (AA), United Democratic Party (UDP), All Progressives Alliance (APA).
Others are Independent Democrats (ID), People for Democratic Change (PDC), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN), Citizens Popular Party (CPP), Accord Party (AP), All Progressives Congress (APC), and Advance Congress of Democrats (ACD).
The political parties, who came in their hundreds, arrived the premises of INEC as early as 7am with placards, chanting loudly as police formed three layers barricades to stop the protesters from encroaching into the premises.
Some of the placards read: “We demand change of REC”; “Rivers APC cannot be intimidated”, among others.
According ýto their petition, they referred to an earlier petition on the need to cancel the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections in Rivers State on the grounds that they were characterised by INEC collusion with PDP to compromise the process.
The parties went ahead to list 25 allegations against the REC, which include that she took over the postings of ad-hoc electoral personnel, recruited well known PDP members as supervisory presiding officers, substituting well trained corps members with a list of names from the PDP governorship candidate, Nyesom Wike.
They also alleged that under her directive “Nyesom Wike supervised the collation of results at the state collation centre even though she knew full well that Nyesom Wike is not the PDP state agent. The PDP agent was Emeka Woke.”
They also said that the REC and Mr. Boco held 14 meetings with Wike at his residence to collaborate in all the plots to sway the election in favour of PDP.
They also alleged that “she facilitated the disbursement of N15million bribe given by  Nyesom Wike to each electoral officer.”
They said “whilst we wait a formal and final resolution of the said March 28 petition, we write to state that Ms. Gesilia Khan, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), was hand in gloves with the perpetrators of the activities that led to impinging the integrity of the election as it is clear to all objective observers that without her complicity in the activities, the subversion of the electoral process would not have been possible.
“We are aware that no allegation against a public officer should be made lightly or for any purpose other than as envisaged by law, which is the reason we have been painstakingý in ensuring that the statements and facts here presented are all easily verifiable and accurate against the person of the REC such that no responsible political party or commission should allow the ignoble situation to persist.”
However, the Director of Security Services at INEC, Shettima Ngillada received the leaders of the protesting political parties, and led them to meet the leadership of the commission and to submit their petitioný accordingly.
Ngillada, after emerging from the meeting with the leaders of the protesting parties and members of INEC leadership, assured them that the commission will look into their petition.
Ngilada, who commended the protesting parties for being orderly, said “your three nominees of the protest groups came with us and the complaint has already been taken to the office of the INEC chairman. The protest letter has been submitted and has been acknowledged. Your complaint will not be thrown away.
“And by the grace of God, the chairman and commission will look into your complain, that is the assurance I can give.ý We want to thank you for the way you organised yourself,” he added.

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RIVERS Approves Review Of 2020 Budget

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The Rivers State Executive Council has approved the review of the 2020 Budget in line with the present economic realities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Accordingly, the State’s 2020 Budget has been reviewed by 48 percent from N530,813,357,619.00 Billion to N300,370,071,183.00 Billion.
The State Commissioner for Finance and Supervisory Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Isaac Kamalu announced on Wednesday, while briefing journalists after the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Mr. Kamalu stated that the State Executive Council also gave approval for the review of the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, accommodating a downsizing of the budget, pointing out that the decision was taken in consideration of all necessary parameters geared towards offering the state purposeful service and effective leadership.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Sunny Ejekwu said the State Executive Council also approved a Free Bus Scheme with a fleet of 28 Luxury Buses to convey commuters free of charge during this COVID-19 period.
He said the Scheme which would start from Monday, June 1,2020 is part of measures introduced by government to ameliorate the sufferings faced by those living and doing business in the state.
Mr. Ejekwu announced that the Free Buses would convey commuters in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
The Commissioner also stated that wearing of facemasks would be a compulsory requirement for any commuter who would want to enjoy the free service.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim announced the setting up of an Executive Council Committee to work out modalities that would outline conditions that would be met by those who intend to bury their loved ones  during this period.
According to him, the Committee is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo while the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Thomas Bariere, Commissioner for Youths, Mr.Prince Ohia and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, Mr Dax Kelly are to serve as members.
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COVID-19 Decisions Are Taken By State Security Council – Governor Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the State Security Council takes all decisions  in  the prosecution of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

Governor Wike who stated this on Tuesday when the Executive of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt pointed out that he has never taken any unilateral decision.

The State Chief Executive noted that all decisions taken by the State Government are for the overall good and interest of the Rivers people as no right thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.

 

“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against COVID-19. All decisions are taken  by the State Security Council and they are for the overall interest of Rivers people.

” You know people applaud government decisions when it  suits them but when it does not favour them they say it is  politically motivated.

“Rivers State Government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shutdown their activities because some cases of  COVID-19 were recorded in hotels,” he stated.

Governor Wike also blamed the hoteliers for failing to assist government in providing relevant information regarding those that test positive of the coronavirus in their hotels.

According to him, adequate information would have helped  the State Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to carry out proper contact tracing.

“Its not possible that the State Government will intentionally close down hotels. But what I see is that people play politics with everything.

“The  demolition of Prodest Hotel and Etemeteh Hotel in Eleme Local Government Area by the State Government became necessary because the owners failed to comply with  Executive Order 7,” he said.

 

The State Chief Executive stated that he is more pained than any other person in the state that churches and mosques are not holding their full religious activities because of COVID-19.

“I can’t believe that I will be sitting here as a Governor and take a painful decision that will make  churches and mosques not to hold full religious activities, ” he said.

The Governor lauded members of the State Chapter of Nigeria Hotel Association for identifying with government efforts in the fight against COVID- 19.

 

Earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr. Eugene Nwauzi commended Governor Wike for leading the fight against coronavirus in the country.

Mr. Nwauzi noted that but for the efforts put in place by the Governor, the spread of COVID-19 would have taken a dangerous dimension in the state.

He however appealed to the State Government to  relax the ban on hotel businesses, assuring that all protocols put in place for the containment of the spread of the virus would be fully observed by hoteliers.
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RSG Cancels Lockdown Of Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt Local Government

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? Imposes state-wide curfew 8p.m to 6a.m from June 2, 2020 till further notice
? Uncovers plan by one Bobosky to instigate violence in 6 LGAs
? Investigating alleged outbreak of coronavirus in Bonny LGA

Rivers State Government has cancelled the proposed lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas scheduled to resume tomorrow.

Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this in a state-wide broadcast also announced the imposition of 8p.m to 6am curfew in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State with effect from June 2,2020 till further notice.

The Governor also revealed that government has uncovered plans by some criminal elements led by one Bobosky to cause security breaches in Khana, Eleme,Gokana, Tai, Oyigbo and Ikwerre Local Government Areas.

“After a comprehensive review of the measures taken and further considerations placed before us by well-meaning members of the public, the State Security Council has decided to cancel the proposed lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of the State.

“In essence, no part of Rivers State is or will be under any lockdown from this moment and this will be so, except where it becomes necessary again.

“As we all know, the regular washing of hands, religious wearing of face masks, keeping effective physical and social distance of between 1.5 to 2 meters from other people, completely avoiding touching of faces with unwashed hands, and cleaning of surfaces we regularly touch have been identified as some of the most effective measures against contracting this virus in the absence of vaccine, ” he said.

 

According to the Governor, government would re-enforce the decisions on the continuous implementation of the following measures throughout the State:

(i) All land borders, including all exit and entry routes into Rivers State shall remain closed to human and vehicular traffic, except those on essential services and duly exempted.

(ii) All residents must wear face masks or covering into any public space, including our roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.

(iii) The State task force and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on our streets or any other public place without wearing face masks.

(iv) All banks, motor parks, hotels, restaurants, shops, business centres, shopping malls, and offices must maintain social distancing and enforce the wearing of face masks in their premises.

 

(v) The State task force and security agencies have been directed to seal up, prosecute and confiscate to the State any bank, shopping mall, restaurant, shop, business place or office that fails to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in its premises.

(vi) In addition to providing daily guest list to the Police and the Department of State Security, hoteliers must not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions. Defaulting hotels will be sealed-up and the owners summarily prosecuted.

(vii) All bars, beer palours, or drinking joints, night-clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas shall remain closed until further notice;

(viii) Oil mill market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall remain closed until further notice;

(ix) Oginigba Slaughter market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall similarly remain closed until further notice.

 

(x) Mbiama market in Ahoada West Local Government Area shall also remain closed until further notice;

(xi) All public weddings, burials and large social gatherings shall remain banned.

(xii) Churches and other religious gatherings should continue to comply with the existing advisory on social distancing, initiate temperature checks and enforce the wearing of face masks during their activities;

(xiii) Dealers in Ikoku Spare Parts markets are warned for the last time to stop converting public roads to mechanic workshops or risk final closure.

(xiv) Similarly, no mechanic workshop should be found along Ikwerre road as Government will prosecute defaulters and confiscate any vehicle being repaired on any public road.

(xv) Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit their passengers to the number earlier established and enforce the wearing of face masks by all passengers. Defaulters will be prosecuted and their vehicles confiscated by the Task force.

These measures, he said, are in the best interest of our State, to protect our lives, businesses, and jobs as well as, to prevent our troubled economy from suffering irreparable damage.

“This also means that, residents now bear much greater responsibility to stop and prevent our State from suffering the exponential and potentially devastating spread of the virus being experienced across the

“As 60% of the positive cases recorded in the State are connected with oil company workers, we have initiated a meeting with all the major oil companies to work out strategies on how we can stop this trend and stop the risk this category of workers now pose to the State.

“Government is also investigating the rumored or suspected outbreak of the coronavirus at Bonny Island.

 

“Our team of medical personnel led by the Commissioner for Health has visited Bonny Island and collected samples from suspected cases for analysis and immediate intervention should the results indicate the outbreak of the virus in the area, “the governor said.

The State Chief Executive also revealed that intelligence has intercepted a clandestine plan by some criminal elements led by Bobosky to cause security breaches in the State by instigating violence and burning down churches in Khana, Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Oyigbo Local Government Areas of the State.

He  assured all residents that the State Government is fully ready and prepared to deal with the situation and continue to guarantee the protection of lives and property throughout the State.

The Governor implored all residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious characters and movements in their neighbourhoods to security agencies.

 

“Leaders and vigilante groups in our communities are to work with the security agencies to enforce  curfew in their localities and arrest and prosecute anyone that violates the curfew order.

“We urge our people to stop the fake news on social media; stop the baseless bickering, the needless blame game, and the seditious rumours that does no good to our image or provide any solution to the common challenges that we face.

“Rather, we should all come together, put our fate in our own hands and work for the common good of all, whether as individuals, families or as communities,” he stated.

The Governor commended all health workers who have continued to put their lives at risk in the forefront in the battle against  COVID-19.

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