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Court Annuls Rivers LG Polls …As Wike Swears-In 22 Caretaker Chairmen



Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo (right), receiving a sourvenir from the South-South Assistant Inspector General of Police, Medical, Dr Adenike Abuwa, during a courtesy call of the Police Medical team to her office in Port Harcourt, yesterday

Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo (right), receiving a sourvenir from the South-South Assistant Inspector General of Police, Medical, Dr Adenike Abuwa, during a courtesy call of the Police Medical team to her office in Port Harcourt, yesterday

A High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, presided over by Justice Lambo Akanbi, yesterday, nullified the election of 22 Local Government Chairmen and 300 Councillors in the state elected May 23, 2015.
Delivering ruling in a matter brought before the court by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) against the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), the then Rivers State Independent electoral Commission (RISEC) and the then APC led state government, Justice Akanbi said he was invoking the judicial powers in order to protect the law and the sanctity of the courts.
It would be recalled that the PDP had earlier this year before the conduct of the local government elections in the state, dragged the INEC to the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt asking the court to stop the INEC from releasing the voters’ register to the then RSIEC and the APC led state government for the said elections.
The trial Judge stated that the court gave an order in that direction, urging the parties in the matter to maintain status-quo pending the determination of the matter before the court.
According to the judge, the defendants, the RSEC and the then APC led government disobeyed the order of the court and went ahead to conduct the said elections, adding that the flagrant disobedience to court orders cannot be tolerated.
Justice Akanbi, therefore, set aside the 23rd May 2015 local government elections held in the state which ushered in 22 local Government Chairmen as well as the councilors, thereby giving room for the state government and the state assembly to appoint caretaker Committee members.
“This Court, therefore, is making an order setting aside the purported local government elections held on May 23rd, 2015”.
However, the inability of the council chairmen to secure an injunction had prompted them to approach a National Industrial Court sitting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, with the same prayers, and secured an injunction restraining the governor from sacking them.
On the resumption of the matter, yesterday, counsel to the 22 Chairmen, H.A. Bellow, informed the court the decision of his clients to withdraw the matter in order to pursue it at the NIC in Bayelsa, urged the court to strick out the matter.
Meanwhile, the 22 local government Chairmen under the aegis of the Association of local Government Chairmen of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State, says it has appealed the Judgement of Justice Lambo Akanbi nullifying their election.
Addressing journalists at the official lodge of the Mayor of Port Harcourt city Local government of Port Harcourt yesterday, the Spokesperson of the group and the Vice Chairman of Gokana LGA, Morgun Sokari said the ruling has no effect on the Chairmen and the All Progressives congress (APC) in the state, adding that the Justice Akanbi had before now declined jurisdiction in the matter.
Sokari told journalists that they rejected the ruling in its entirety as it was not acceptable, adding that the matter had already been appealed.
The Vice Chairman used the opportunity to call on the security operatives in the state to be alive to their duties in order to avoid destruction of lifes and property in the state.
Hon. Sakari said, “it was not right for the judge to give such ruling after declining jurisdiction at the first instance. A petition had already been written against him, and he was aware that the matter was pending before National Industrial court, Bayelsa”.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has charged newly sworn-in Caretaker Committee Chairmen on the need to stay in their domain and tackle security and employment challenges.
He gave the charge yesterday after the oath of office was administered on the chairmen in Government House, Port Harcourt shortly after a Federal High Court had nullified the May 23rd council elections conducted by the immediate past administration.
The governor while calling on them to be prudent and law abiding noted that, “ I did not dissolve the councils, but the Federal High Court nullified the elections so you have been appointed to fill that vacuum.”
Against this backdrop, he said they should not view their appointment as political patronage but a call to serve the people, expressing the hope that they have the capacity to deliver the dividends of democracy to the grassroots.
Most especially he called on CTC chairmen of Eleme, Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and Ikwerre to assist government in clearing their area of refuse, reminding them that they are the sign posts through which first time visitors view the state.
For those in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada, Khana, Gokana and Abua/Odual the governor enjoined them to help fight the menace of kidnapping, killings and other forms of criminality in their area.
“ Try and carry everybody along and create employment for the people and we have to work” Wike declared further counselling them not to balkanise their community on party or chieftaincy lines.
Governor Wike maintained that he would not hesitate to fire any CTC chairman who engages in financial recklessness and godfatherism reminding them that workers salaries must be equally given top priority.
In a chat with newsmen later CTC Chairman of Eleme, Phillip Okparaji promised to give sanitation and security priority.
Also Barrister Clifford Oparaodu and his counterpart from Obio/Akpor Bright Amaewhule promised to assist government check traffic and multiple taxation, stating that illegal taskforce will be eradicated as well.

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RIVERS Approves Review Of 2020 Budget



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



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



? 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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