The leadership of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDE) has expressed disappointment at the leadership of the Methodist Church in Rivers State, for allegedly encouraging and attempting to cover up a reported case of child abuse by teachers of the Methodist Girls High School, Harbour Road in Port Harcourt.
FIDA’s anger followed the unwillingness of representatives of the church’s prelate to volunteer information to the lawyers who had requested for a meeting on November 8, 2016, at FIDA Office, to reconcile grievances of parents of two minors brutally abused, assaulted and injured by teachers of its school in Port Harcourt.
Country Vice President, FIDA, Nigeria, Barrister Inime Aguma, criticised the church and school team for treating with levity the seriousness of the complaint against the school teachers, adding that the church’s attitude could spark an avalanche of irreconcilable differences and claims of damages by the victims and their family.
Mrs Aguma particularly expressed worry at the manner in which the prelate’s representative, and member, Chattered Institute of Arbitrators, Andrew Chukwuemere, SAN, spoke so condescendingly on the composition of the stakeholders, warning that copies of the official complaint on the issue were already before the wife of the governor, Hon Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike and the Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, and threatened the church and the school to take advantage of the reconciliation window to resolve the thorny and sordid issues, or face the full weight of the law.
Earlier, Chairman, Human Rights Committee, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barrister Joseph Geoffrey, had suggested consultations with the prelate to discuss the issues openly in order to not to fan the suspicion of cover up, but the church declined to heed the advice, and rather requested postponement of the reconciliation meeting.
Also speaking, Chairperson, FIDA Nigeria, Rivers State, Mrs Tonia Osademe, confirmed that the prelate and the church had elected to go to court on the matter.
It would be recalled that complaints of child abuse, unlawful detention, threat to life and attempted murder perpetrated on a 12-year old girl, Miss Queeneth Ekpebulu-Harry and her brother, Daniel by one Samuel K. Uche and other teachers of Methodist Girls High School, Harbour Road, Port Harcourt, had been lodged by the family of Mrs Stephanie Ekpebulu-Harry to FIDA and the offices of the wife of the governor and deputy governor, respectively, seeking for meaningful redress.
The Ekpebulu-Harry family had complained that the untoward incident had occurred on June 13, 2016, at the school premises, and that efforts to compel the school authorities and the church to address the consequential implications of the incident have yielded not positive result.
Covid-19: Traders Move To Check Spread
Eneka Market Association says it has taken some measures to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in the market.
Chairman of the association, Mr Christian Amadi said this in an interview with The Tide recently in the area.
Amadi who said he became aware of the spread of the virus in an internet on the radio also said that the association is holding series of meetings with all stakeholders in the market to work out ways of checking the spread of the virus.
According to him, the association has made it compulsory that both traders and customers coming to the market must use hand sanitizers, wear face masks while all the tables in the market will be spaced.
He also said that the traders are thinking of levying themselves to provide hand washing soaps and water for both traders and customers coming to the market.
The chairman however, regretted that most of the traders and customers are not conforming to the rules, especially the wear of face masks and the use of hand sanitisers.
He also declared that the association is finding it difficult to enforce the rules on social distancing as the market is too small.
Also speaking, Mrs Felicia Ejekwu, a food vendor said that it was during their meeting that they were made to know the lastest development as far as the Covid-19 pandemic is concerned.
She said the traders are doing everything possible to check the spread of the virus in the market.
Also, another trader commended the association for the provision of taps and hand sanitisers.
He also thanked them for making the wearing of face masks compulsory in the market.
He however said the role on social distancing will be difficult to achieve since the market is too small and called for more enlargement and sensitisation.
Other traders who also spoke with The Tide on the issue called for the creation of more awareness on the danger of the pandemic.
Commissioner Advises Rivers Youths To Respect Authority
Rivers State youths have been charged to respect constituted authority and traditional institutions in order to be veritable tools of change in enhancing community development.
Commissioner for Youth Development, Hon. Prince Obi Ohia who made the declaration during a town hall meeting at Akinima in Ahoada West Local Government Area said that the youths who constitute over 60% of the population of any nation, had the responsibility of renewing, refreshing and maintaining societal values in any given community.
Ohia advised youths to show high level regard for traditional stools stating that the youth bodies are not autonomous entities but are under the local government councils and traditional institutions.
He made it categorically clear to the youths that if they must operate in the State, they must have absolute respect for the traditional rulers because the state government would not tolerate any disrespect for the traditional institutions.
The commissioner however, urged traditional rulers to be unbiased and desist from wielding overbearing influence on the Youths bodies, which may cause an incursion on youths activities.
Ohia, advised traditional rulers to play fatherly and advisory roles to youths in their communities rather than interfer with their activities especially in choosing their leaders in order to reduce crisis in their localities.
While delivering the youth education pep talk, the commissioner urged the youths to embrace the value of time in the area of technological and educational advancement and also, adequately carry out the role of community surveillance and security in accordance with laid down guidelines while liaising with security agencies in their localities.
He said youths in carrying out their security and surveillance roles could give vital information to security agencies and aid arrest of criminal elements in their communities as long as it is done lawfully.
Ohia hinted that the state had established a symbiotic relationship with youths, the local government, and the communities in order to gain total control of youth bodies to forestall any security breaches in the state.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr. Roland Obed Whyte stressed the need for Community.
Ethnic based youth organisations in the area to key into the ongoing revalidation exercise by the Ministry, warning youth groups which have not been revalidated that they remain proscribed until they have fulfilled and completed the revalidation obligations as stipulated by the ministry.
Chairman of Ahoada West Local Government Council, Dr. Hope Ikiriko warned that traditional rulers would be held responsible in any community where there are youth crises in the local government.
Dr. Ikiriko appealed to youth leaders to ensure that they are revalidated and registered with the Ministry of Youth Development as that is the prerequisite for being recognised as a Youth body in the State.
By: Ike Wigodo
KYC Alleges Sabotage Over Trans Kalabari Road
Warns Criminals To Steer Clear
The Kalabari Youth Council (KYC) Worldwide, says the recent kidanap of an expatriate working on the ongoing Trans Kalahari Road may be a sabotage to stall the project.
President General of the KYC , Ambassador Ipalibo Madodoye in a statement signed and made available to The Tide on Thursday said no amount of sabotage will derail the project.
Madodoye said, “this project displays good intention of the State Government to the Kalabari people. It’s something that will open Kalabari land. No amount of sabotage will derail it.”
He expressed hope that the 14 month time line for the project will be achieved, noting that the state governor, Chief Nyesom Woke has never abandoned any project he has started.
The KYC president general called on parents and guardians to warn their wards from being used to cause chaos and disaffection in the area and the entire Kalabari land.
“For us we see it as a challenge to ensure cordiality and peace within the project communities stressing tjat, “we strongly warn strangers and all agents against Kalahari land and Rivers State to stay far from all project sites and facilities.”
The KYC further condemned statement by Kengema Youth Forum (KUF) over the kidnap of the expatriate describing it as a mockery and tantamount to hypocrisy.
The statement said, “We condenm the dastardly kidnap and for the umpteenth time call for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, while we state very clearly that KUF’s media display is rather too hasty, a mockery to Kalabari land where the project is cited and to the Rivers State Government”.
As far as KYC is concerned, the Kengema Unity Forum has never seen anything good in the present administration of Chief Wikem
The body further challenged KUF over its sincerity to condemn other kidnaps in Kalabari land including other criminal activities if really it meant well for the area..
We hereby strongly warn any other person, persons or group that would present itself or themselves as tool or decoy to distract or forestall the Trans-Kalabari Project or any other projects in our land to steer clear even as we call on all community youth bodies to be on the red alert and report suspicious moves to the appropriate quarters” the statement further declared.
By: Kevin Nengia
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