The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has identified the unfortunate tendency of citizens to tolerate and accommodate people of questionable characters around them as one of the major problems promoting criminality in the state.
Wike, who stated this while declaring open the 2016 Triennial State Delegates’ Conference of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the people have contributed to the promotion of an environment characterised by crime and criminality.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Kenneth Kobani, the governor was worried that some citizens of the state were in the habit of harbouring criminals, thereby exacerbating the security situation of the state.
The governor further emphasised that his administration has zero-tolerance for criminality, adding that all vices would be forced to give way and be replaced with attitudes that enhance peace and development.
Wike also reiterated that despite the dwindling economy of the state and the N3.5billion state allocation from the federation account, the government will continue to ensure that workers’ salaries and pensioners allowances are paid, adding that his administration was working hard to eliminate the scourge of ghost workers and multiple salary payments.
He urged workers to bear with his administration as the biometric exercise would help boost the state’s financial base.
The governor commended the outgoing TUC Chairman, Comrade Chika Onuegbu for his pragmatic approach in handling labour issues, and urged the new leadership to emulate the legacies of past leaders in ensuring peace and industrial harmony in the state.
In his remarks, the outgoing TUC Chairman, Comrade Chika Onuegbu, stated that the union has grown from a relatively unknown state council in 2009 to a vibrant and resilient brand capable of enhancing labour rights and welfare in the state in particular and the nation at large.
He said that the conference, with the theme: “Democracy, Human Development and Social Inclusion In Nigeria,” aims to galvanise the labour movement in the state for greater productivity.
Onuegbu said, “I am convinced, however, that we will continue to maintain that position against all odds, if we allow God to continue to lead us,” and promised TUC’s readiness to work with government to ensure industrial peace and harmony in the state.
In his address, President of the TUC, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama, said the theme was apt and strongly appeals to labour movement in view of cogent and urgent need for our country to embrace and practise true democracy, pursue people-centred development and social structure that guarantees the empowerment of our people to actualise their greatest potentials for optimal collective advancement.
Kaigama stated that the Comrade Chika Onuegbu-led administration made it top priority to promote workers’ welfare and maintain a functional secretariat with sound administrative and organisational competence.
Highlights of the event was the TUC Rivers State election which produced, the Chairman as Comrade Austin Jonah, Vice Chairman in person of Comrade Chris Mbata, Secretary as Comrade Chima Charles Igwe, Assist Secretary as Comrade Dinipre Agbozu, Treasurer as Comrade Beatrice Fombu, and the State Woman Leader, Comrade Abigail Adeku.
In his goodwill message, the Elder Statesman, Comrade Milten Dabibi called on the state labour movement not to mix up union issues with politics, but should always fight to ensure that staff salaries are paid in order to reduce corruption.
He added that dedication must be given first to your Union as our priority is to protect the job, economy and company we are working for.
Also, in her good will message, the Nigeria Labour Congress Leader in Rivers State, Mrs Beatrice Itubo reiterated the robust working relationship between TUC and NLC, noting that election was not a do or die affair, and as such, urged fellow comrades to take the outcome of the election in good fate.
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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