The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, led thousands of Rivers people to the streets to protest the alleged killings by the police and other security agencies during the December 10 rerun elections.
The governor and other protesters had taken off from the Government House, Port Harcourt at 8am, and marched through Azikiwe Street and Bank Road before stopping at the Rivers State Police headquarters on Moscow Road.
Wike had waited patiently for about 30 minutes before the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Cyril Okoro, came out and spoke through the gate.
The governor, who later addressed the police, explained that the people of Rivers State were at the Police headquarters to inform the authorities that they were tired of the killings of innocent people in the state by the police and other security operatives.
He pointed out that the people and state government were dissatisfied with the recklessness of two senior policemen, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Akin Fakorede.
According to him, the officers led the “sponsored onslaught” against the people of Rivers State, and compromised the security architecture of the state.
“On behalf of the Rivers State Government and the good people of the state, we have to let the police know that enough is enough.
“We demand that the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Akin Fakorede, must leave the state.
“Since you don’t want to protect the state and you want to be politicians, you have gotten the votes you want to get, you have also gotten the seats you want to get; you can now leave the state.
“If they don’t leave the state, then, we will do all we can to ensure they leave this state. They must leave this state. They have killed innocent people.
“We have come here peacefully; communicate this to your superiors in Abuja. I cannot write again since I have done that repeatedly. Please, I don’t want my people to die anymore,” Wike said.
The governor stated that the Police High Command had refused to act despite the overwhelming evidence against the duo, especially the video footage that showed Akin Fakorede and other security operatives trying to snatch results of the Rivers East Senatorial District.
“If Rivers people could be visited with such a despicably high degree of violence, mayhem and killings by some renegade military and SARS operatives with impunity just to rescue the dying political fortunes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a mere legislative re-run elections, then we can now begin to imagine what is likely to happen in the state when the political stakes would be very much higher in 2019.”
He regretted the brazen manner that federal might was negatively used to ensure the return of APC candidates at all cost.
He noted that the people of the state still need to thank God because the negative outcome could have been worse.
The governor said that the state government received credible information on the planned electoral theft and mass violence through the use of security agents, but all efforts to alert the nation were disregarded.
He noted that he has been vindicated by the ugly incidents of December 10 where two Senior Policemen, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Steven Hasso and the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Chief Superintendent of Police, Akin Fakorede and other security operatives tormented Rivers people, killing many in the process.
He said: “They accused us of raising unnecessary alarms when we cried aloud over their devilish plans to use the federally-controlled SARS to disenfranchise our people and manipulate the re-run election process towards achieving some pre-arranged outcomes against the will of the people.
“Today, we have clearly and eloquently been vindicated. Despite the unprecedented deployment of over 28,000 police personnel, three helicopters and 20 gun boats for the re-run elections, we all witnessed how Stephen Hasso, Akin Fakorede, and their gang of marauders took direct and complete control of the election process from INEC in the Rivers South-East Senatorial District, as well as in Ikwerre, Emohua and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas, and left unimaginable trails of mayhem, shootings, maiming and killing of innocent people.
“Indeed, never in our history have Rivers people been so physically, mentally and psychologically brutalized, traumatized and denied their rights to freely and fairly elect our leaders by shameless gangs of hired, power-drunk, trigger-happy and irresponsible security officers and their political collaborators.”
The governor added: “If Rivers people could be visited with such a despicably high degree of violence, mayhem and killings by some renegade military and SARS operatives with impunity just to rescue the dying political fortunes of the All Progressives Congress in a mere legislative re-run elections, then we can now begin to imagine what is likely to happen in the state when the political stakes would be very much higher in 2019.
“Information available to us indicates that CSP Akin Fakorede, who was caught on camera physically brutalizing a female electoral officer is currently being debriefed by the police high command in Abuja. However, we do not have confidence in what they are doing neither do we expect that the victims of Akin’s brutality will ever get justice from the police authorities given the levity with which they treated and bungled the case against those that were arrested in Port Harcourt while printing results sheets with which to rig the re-run elections”, Wike said
Wike described a situation, where security officials had transformed into politicians in uniform as unfortunate.
Reacting, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Cyril Okoro, assured the governor that the Rivers State Police Command would pass his message to the Police High Command for necessary action.
However, at the main entrance to the state Police Command, the policemen inside the command did not open the gate for the governor and other protesters.
Among those who accompanied the governor to the state police headquarters were the state Deputy Governor, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo; Speaker, State House of Assembly, Dabo Adams; ex-Mminister of Transport, Dr Abiye Sekibo; former UBA Chairman, Chief Ferdinand Alabrabra; ex-State Deputy Governor, Tele Ikuru; and Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah.
Trans-Kalabari Road: Banigo, Stakeholders Condemn Abduction Of Expatriate
Kalabari traditional rulers and stakeholders have condemned the recent abduction of an expatriate staff of Lubric Construction Company working on the Trans-Kalabari Road.
Speaking at a meeting at the Government House in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo said she was deeply pained by the unfortunate incident carried out by unknown miscreants.
According to the deputy governor, who said that the State Chief Executive Officer, Nyesom Wike, was desirous to bring more development projects to Kalabari Kingdom, regretted that this act was capable of discouraging him.
“I want to reiterate that our governor is very desirous to do more developmental projects in our communities, there are many more things he has in the card to do for us, and if we allow this ugly thing to surface, that attitude will discourage him”, the deputy governor noted.
Banigo, who said that perpetrators of the heinous crime did not drop from the sky, insisted that they were community people, and must be fished out and dealt with decisively, while calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the abductee.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, expressed regrets that a project as important as the Trans-Kalabari Road would be tampered with by persons who do not mean well for the Kalabari people.
“If their intention is to run down the good works of our dear governor, over a project which the Kalabari people have been yearning for over the years, then, I am sure God Almighty will not allow them to get away with this dastardly act of kidnapping one expatriate”, Alabraba stressed.
Alabraba further said, “It is important that we talk to ourselves and ensure that everything possible is done to ensure immediate release of the victim, and ensure that measures are put in place to forestall this type of thing in the future”.
Presenting a seven-point communique, Amanyanabo of Minama, King Iboroma Talbot Pokubo, who represented the Amanyanabo of Abonnema, King Disreal Gbobo Bobmanuel, demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the expatriate, and reassured Governor Wike of their unwavering support for the governor.
Buhari Approves Incorporation Of NNPC, Appoints Board Members
President Muhammadu Buhari, has directed that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited be incorporated.
He also approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited with Senator Ifeanyi Ararume as chairman.
The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr Mele Kyari, was appointed chief executive officer.
This was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, saying that the president acted in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Minister of Petroleum Resources, has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.
“This is in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.
“The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mr Mele Kolo Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.
“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.
“Chairman of the board is Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, while Mele Kolo Kyari and Umar I. Ajiya are chief executive officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.
“Other board members are; Dr Tajudeen Umar (North-East); Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North-Central); Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North-West); Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South-East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South-South); and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South-West).”
Reject Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request, SERAP Tells NASS
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan; and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila; to reject the fresh request by President Muhammadu Buhari, to borrow $4billion and €710million.
SERAP said if such request must be granted, the Federal Government should publish details of spending of all loans obtained since May 29, 2015.
The group also expressed fear that if the fresh request is granted, it may take Nigeria’s to over N35trillion.
Buhari recently sought the approval of the National Assembly to borrow $4,054,476,863 and €710million, on the grounds of “emerging needs.”
The request was contained in a letter dated August 24, 2021.
In an open letter dated September 18, 2021, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation expressed “concerns about the growing debt crisis, the lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of loans that have been obtained, and the perceived unwillingness or inability of the National Assembly to vigorously exercise its constitutional duties to check the apparently indiscriminate borrowing by the government.”
SERAP said, “The National Assembly should not allow the government to accumulate unsustainable levels of debt, and use the country’s scarce resources for staggering and crippling debt service payments rather than for improved access of poor and vulnerable Nigerians to basic public services and human rights.
“The country’s public debt has mushroomed with no end in sight. The growing national debt is clearly not sustainable. There has been no serious attempt by the government to cut the cost of governance. The leadership of the National Assembly ought to stand up for Nigerians by asserting the body’s constitutional powers to ensure limits on national debt and deficits.
“Should the National Assembly and its leadership fail to rein in government borrowing, and to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of public loans, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly to discharge its constitutional duties.
“SERAP notes that if approved, the country’s debts will exceed N35trillion. The government is also reportedly pushing the maturity of currently-secured loans to between 10 and 30 years. N11.679trillion is reportedly committed into debt servicing, while only N8.31trillion was expended on capital/development expenditure between 2015 and 2020.
“Ensuring transparency and accountability in the spending of loans by the government and cutting the cost of governance would address the onerous debt servicing, and improve the ability of the government to meet the country’s international obligations to use maximum available resources to ensure the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights, such as quality healthcare and education”, SERAP added.
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