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Don’t Test Our Strength, Rivers Assembly Warns Commissioners …Threatens Warrant Of Arrest



The Rivers State House of Assembly has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against any government official, including commissioners who fail to honour it’s invitation.
The House gave the warning when five out of nine appointees surmoned by the legislators appeared before it yesterday. Four did not appear but sent apologies.
The Deputy Speaker,Hon. Leyii Kwanee, who presided over the sitting, warned the appointees not to test the strength of the 7th Assembly, He frowned at the excuses given by most of the commissioners who were summoned to appear before the House  yesterday.
The House, in its sitting on Monday, presided over  by the Deputy Speaker, Leyii Kwanee, had summoned nine commissioners and four board chairmen over the state’s economy.
Kwanee while speaking during yesterday’s sitting, when three, of nine commissioners that were summoned appeared, said the House was out to serve the people of the state and not to witch-hunt anyone.
The lawmakers had rigorously debated whether or not to question the three commissioners or adjourn till tomorrow when other commissioners promised to be available.
The commissioners that were present are: George Tolofari (Transport); Austine Wokocha (Power), and Gogo Levi Charles (Budegt and Planning),  as well as the Chairman, Rivers State Assembly Service Commission, Ombo Princewill.
But as the House adjourned till Thursday, Kwanee, read the riot act, saying,”Whatever I need to do to strengthen our democracy and put smiles on the faces of our people, I will do it. We will be remembered for what we did as lawmakers.
“Nobody should attempt to try the will of the House… No matter how short the days are, we will continue to make laws until May 29, 2015, and nobody can intimidate this House.
“At the next sitting, the House would like to get all those invited to be present. We will not tolerate any excuses,” he said.
Kwanee, however, disclosed that three commissioners, including that of Finance, informed him why they could not appear before the House, an explanation that forced the House Leader, Hon. Chidi Lloyd to move for an adjournment to Thursday, explaining that some commissioners were on special assignments.
But the Deputy House Leader, Hon. Nname Ewor, who originally moved the motion for the suspension of three local government  council caretaker chairman and the summoning of the commissioners, wondered what kind of assignment would prevent them from honouring the invitation of the House.
He said: “I took pains to present these issues yesterday (Monday).There were salient issues I raised. If we want to screen people for positions and appointments, even if they are in America, they would rush down here.
“What special assignment are other commissioners doing now? We should take on those that are present. We should ask them one or two questions instead of asking them to leave. The ones that are not here should come and explain to Rivers people,” he said.
Earlier, the House adopted a petition filed against the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Emma Chindah, who was accused of conniving with the suspended Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari Toru Local Government Area, Ojukaye Flagg-Amachree, wherein he was accused of keeping to himself an unspecified sum of sum of meant for agricultural empowerment of the people.
In the petition titled: “A case of fraud and outright denial of poverty eradication beneficiaries of the agricultural loan in Asalga,” the Commissioner was accused of refusing to hand over the money to members of the cooperative, that were to use the money, even as the  House referred the petition to a committee.

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Mr Minabelem Micheal-West, Government and Community Relations Manager East, SPDC, Mr Edesiri Akpormudjere and Mr Karibi George, during the Safe Routes To School, Child Road Safety Initiative, recently

L-R: Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Mr Minabelem Micheal-West, Government and Community Relations Manager East, SPDC, Mr Edesiri Akpormudjere and Mr Karibi George, during the Safe Routes To School, Child Road Safety Initiative, recently

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Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court



The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.

Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.

The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.

It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.

They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.

According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.

The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.

However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.

Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.

The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.

Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.

He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.

More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.

Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.

The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.

Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.

Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.

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World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms



The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.

The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.

The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.

“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.

“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?

“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.

“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.

“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.

“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”

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Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation



Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.

It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.

The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.

“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.

Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.

It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.

It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.

“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.

“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’

“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.

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