The illegal siege on Rivers State by federal security agencies has continued unabated but an attempt in the early hours of Saturday by hundreds of Department of State Services (DSS) operatives and policemen to illegally abduct a Federal High Court judge residing at Number 35 Forces Avenue in Port Harcourt was foiled by the tacit resistance of the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and hundreds of Rivers people, who mobilised to stop the act of illegality.
The Tide reports that the illegal abduction was led by the Rivers State Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Tosin Ajayi, and Rivers State Police Commissioner, Francis Odesanya.
However, it was gathered that the operatives of DSS had reportedly rough-handled Wike, pushing him around and injuring his hand, while a few of the operatives cocked their rifles and threatened to shoot the governor.
The Tide learnt that the operatives were irked by Wike’s arrival at the scene shortly after the failed abduction process began.
It was learnt that Wike had received security information on the illegal moves, minutes after the operation started.
The security operatives had blocked the entrance of the residence of the Federal High Court judge at about 1am on Saturday, claiming that they were acting on orders from above.
It was learnt that as they dragged Wike around, they insisted that they must be allowed to leave with the judge.
However, the commotion attracted passersby and journalists who thronged the vicinity to know why hundreds of security agents in several patrol vans had been mobilised.
It was gathered that upon the arrival of a litany of the media, the Rivers State Director of the DSS, Mr Tosin Ajayi, jumped into his vehicle, and fled the scene.
However, addressing journalists, Rivers State Police Commissioner, Francis Odesanya said the two security agencies were at the scene because they received privileged information.
Odesanya claimed he was at the scene as a peace maker, but declined comments on why the police joined the DSS to abduct a serving Federal High Court judge.
In an interview with journalists at the scene of the failed illegal abduction of a Federal High Court judge by the police and DSS, Wike said it will not be under his watch that security agencies will be allowed to entrench needless impunity.
He declared that their reckless action portends danger to the nation’s democracy, noting that he was convinced that President Muhammadu Buhari was not aware of the level of impunity being perpetrated by federal security agencies.
Wike stated that whatever the situation, the rule of law must prevail in a democratic setting.
He said, if the security agencies had a lawful directive to implement, they must follow due process.
According to him, “Not under my watch will I allow this kind of impunity to take place. That is why we are here. I don’t know which judge they were detailed to abduct. I didn’t bother myself to know which judge. All I am interested in is that, at this level, it is not allowed.
“He is not a criminal and he is not an armed robber. If the person has committed an offence, invite him. It is only when he refuses to honour the invitation that you can adopt this commando style.
“The commissioner of police is here, the director of DSS is here. Their operatives cocked their guns and threatened to shoot me. I have never seen that before. Again, this is to tell you what we are facing. We know that more will come. For us in this state, we shall continue to resist it.”
Wike added: “It doesn’t matter what it will cost. When you talk about liberty, sacrifices must be made. We are not trying to stop an arrest. All we are saying is that things must be done decently and in line with the rule of law.
“Rivers State is under siege. For you to see a governor out at this time of the day, something is wrong. A siege is an understatement. If this type of thing happens next time, the people will resist it to the last”.
The governor stressed: “They are trying to do something funny in this state, probably to declare a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Rivers State has described as most sacrilegious, the attempt by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), and policemen to shoot the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for intervening in the alleged abduction of a Federal High Court judge serving in the state in the early hours of Saturday.
The state Chairman of the PDP, Bro Felix Obuah, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam, asserted that the unruly behaviour of the overzealous security operatives was the worst of its kind in the history of Nigeria, and a cause for concern.
Alleging that the action of the security operatives was aimed at finding a reason to declare a state of emergency in the state, Obuah urged President Muhammadu Buhari, the National Assembly members, judicial officers, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and all relevant authorities and stakeholders to be on the alert on these acts of recklessness against Rivers State as injury to one is injury to all.
“There is no doubt that the Rivers State experience is exceptional and the democratic abuse by security agencies and their political paymasters is aimed at testing the mindset of the people, and if left to stand, will definitely go round and translate into a national malaise,” the state PDP chairman lamented.
According to him, “It’s unheard of anywhere in the world where legally constituted authorities like the DSS and the police will break into the residence of a legitimate federal judicial officer of the status of a judge for the purpose of arrest in the wee hours of the day, citing orders from above as their reason.
“This is an act of brigandage and roguery, worse still when a serving governor intervened; same security agents cocked their guns against the state chief executive and security officer in the presence of the state police commissioner and director of DSS. This, though real, is most unbelievable”, Obuah added.
The state PDP chairman, however, appealed to Rivers people to remain calm in the face of the unprovoked attack and siege being perpetuated by those opposed to peace in the state so that they can have their way and continue with their exploitation and underdevelopment of Rivers State.
“We are happy and grateful that God is on our side. Each time they come up with a new strategy to cause mayhem, they end up hitting the air because even the gods of the land abhor their intentions.
“Nonetheless, this particular sacrilege of attempting to shoot our governor will never be taken kindly,” Obuah said.
UBEC, RSUBEB Begin Digital School Construction In Rivers
As part of government’s efforts to realize its dream of making the nation’s educational system a global digital community, the Federal Government, through the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), have commenced the construction of a modern digital Smart Basic School in the state, with 14-month completion schedule.
The school, which is a pilot modern basic education facility, is designed by UBEC in collaboration with RSUBEB to entrench digitization of ICT-driven basic education system across the 36 states and FCT, Abuja.
Speaking with journalists at a brief handover ceremony of the proposed smart school site to UBEC by RSUBEB at the Community Primary School, Uzuoba in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, over the weekend, the National Consultant, UBEC Smart School Project, Prof Masud Abdulkarim, said the school was designed to incorporate digital technology into the basic education system in the country, which he said, has been in practice in advanced countries for years.
Abdulkarim stated that the desire of the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerian children were not left out in the digital space, saying that the school would have great impact on the youth and give them equal opportunity to compete globally in the technology world.
He described the school as the first of its kind in the history of the country, adding that the school would have four categories that would take care of the nursery, handicapped, primary as well as junior secondary students with a maximum of 35 persons per class of two streams.
Abdulkarim noted that with the strategy, no fewer than 700 children would be enrolled into the school.
According to him, the school would afford the children the opportunity to become robotic engineers, artificial intelligence (AI) engineers and ICT engineers, and added that as future leaders, they need to be equipped and encouraged.
The UBEC consultant commended the state government for the provision of the school for the construction of the smart school, and described the site as the most suitable across the 23 states so far visited.
“Let me thank the RSUBEB for the site, in fact, it is the best and most suitable site among the 23 states we have so far visited. Because it has an existing school structure with a fence to protect our equipment and infrastructure. Moreso, the project will impact on the schools around because they will benefit from our Wi-Fi”, he stated.
Abdulkarim called on the host community to jealously guard the project as a growing child, till its maturity to adult stage, saying that they were important stakeholders in the project.
Also speaking on behalf of the Chairman of Rivers State Universal Basic Education Board (RSUBEB), Ven Fyneface Akah, a commissioner in the board, Chief Faith Amaso, called for synergy between the contractors and host community in other to remove every impediment that may affect the delivery of the project on schedule.
Akah opined that the project, when completed, would improve basic education in the state, and expressed happiness over the commencement of the project in the state.
Rivers United Beat Young Africans Of Tanzania 1-0
Rivers United Football Club of Port Harcourt, yesterday, at the Adokiye Amasiemaka Football Stadium, trounced the Young Africans Football Club of Tanzania 1-0 in a return leg match of the ongoing Confederation of African Football Club Champions League competition.
The stadium, which was filled to capacity, witnessed a trilling encounter, which saw the crowd craving for more.
It would be recalled that Rivers United had defeated the Young Africans of Tanzania 1-0 in the first leg of the championship at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium, Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Reacting to the feat, the Chairman of Degema Local Government Area, Hon. Michael John Williams, expressed joy over the victory of the Rivers United FC of Port Harcourt against the Young Africans of Tanzania in the ongoing Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League.
The match, which ended 1-0 in favour of the Rivers United FC, took place at the Adokiye Amiesimaka International Stadium in Rivers State, yesterday.
Top government officials in the state, including Rivers Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo; LG council chairmen and commissioners, amongst other sports enthusiasts, graced the event.
Speaking on the outcome of the match, Williams stated that the Rivers United players exhibited the Rivers team spirit, which culminated in their victory.
The political heavyweight in Degema LGA, noted that nothing would be impossible for Rivers people to achieve when they work together in unison and firm determination.
He added that the massive support and huge investment in the sports sector by the Governor Nyesom Wike administration, also motivated the Rivers team, who worked hard to secure a back-to-back victory.
By: Nelson Chukwudi
NJC Okays Six Chief Judges, 30 Others For Appointment
The National Judicial Council (NJC), has recommended the appointment of chief judges and 30 others as judicial officers to beef up judicial functions in some states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
At its 95th meeting held on September 15 and 16, 2021, the council considered the list of candidates presented by its Interview Committee, and recommended the 36 successful candidates to their respective state governors for appointment as heads of courts and other judicial officers in Nigeria.
They are Hon. Justice Richard O. Olorunfemi as chief judge, Kogi State, Hon. Justice Joe Itsebaga Acha for Edo, Hon. Justice Akintoroye Williams Akin for Ondo, Hon. Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf for FCT, Hon. Justice Ekaette Francesca Fabian-Obot for Akwa Ibom, and Hon. Justice J. O. Adeyeye for Ekiti State.
Others are Hon. Kadi Baba Gana Mahdi as Grand Kadi, Yobe; Umaru Ahmad Liman as Grand Kadi, Bauchi; Hon. Justice Osagede Osado Emmanuel as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Nasarawa; Hon. Justice Mashud Akintunde Akinfemi Abass as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State; and Siyaka Momoh Jimoh Usman as President, Customary Court of Appeal, Kogi State.
Three judges are recommended for High Court of Gombe, and they are Zainab Abdulkadir Rasheed, Abdussalam Muhammad, and Daurabo Suleiman Sikka.
Akwa Ibom has Effiong Asukwo Effiong; Bauchi has Nana Fatima Jibril; while Kaduna High Court has Abdulkarim Mahmud.
The three candidates recommended for Katsina State are Kabir Shuaibu, Ibrahim Ishaku Mashi, and Ibrahim Abubakar Mande, while Prof Alero Akeredolu was recommended for Ondo State.
Four successful candidates for Oyo State are Olusola Adebisi Adetujoye, Folabimpe Beatrice Segun Olakojo, Prof Taiwo Elijah Adewale, and Kareem Adeyimika Adedokun.
Kogi State has three candidates, and they are Abubakar Sule Ibrahim, Abdullah Sulyman, as well as Aminu Ali Eri.
Two Kadis for Sharia Court of Appeal are Adamu Kuna Jibril and Ahmed Baba Bala, while the four for Bauchi are Musa Sani Abubakar, Mahdi Manga, Khamis Al-Hamidallah Muhammad and Sani Musa with Ondo State having one in the person of Orimisan James Okorisa and Oyo Customary Court of Appeal having Ajadi Olubukola Omolayo.
A statement by the NJC Director of Information, Mr Soji Oye, and released in Abuja, yesterday, said that all the recommended candidates are expected to be sworn-in after approval by President Muhammadu Buhari, and their respective state governors, and confirmation by the respective state Houses of Assembly.
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