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Wike Bags Three Awards …One Year After Supreme Court Verdict

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It is exactly one year today after the Supreme Court upheld the election of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike
The apex court had delivered the judgement on January 27 but said it would explain the reasons for it on February 12, 2016.
In arriving at the ruling, it set aside the judgments of the River State Governorship Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal, which nullified Wike’s election.
Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, who read the unanimous judgement, explained that the inability of the tribunal to be properly constituted during the determination of the matter amounted to lack of fair hearing of the governor’s case.
She said the action of the tribunal was a good ground to set aside the entire proceedings before it, but that since it was an election matter which was time-bound, according to Section 289 (6) and (7) of the Constitution, it was necessary to consider the appeal according to its merit.
On the alleged violation of documents tendered at the tribunal and the appeal court, she said the function of the card reader, though quite commendable in the conduct of the 2015 elections, is solely to authenticate the owner of the voter’s card and prevent multiple voting by a single voter.
She said the card reader cannot replace the voters register, recognised by the constitution.
Kekere-Ekun further said the 49th prosecution witness (PW), who is an assistant director of information communication and technology at the Independent National Electoral Commission, acknowledged that the report she had testified to, was prepared by a certain Mrs. Nnena, a staff of her unit.
She added that the witness also told the tribunal during cross examination that she was not in Rivers State during the election and did not examine the card reader after the exercise.
She said since the witness did not take part in any stage of the accreditation of voters, she was not in any position to testify as to how the card reader functioned during the election.
“The position of the law is that there is a difference between admissibility (relevance) and probative value (proof) to be attached to the said evidence,” Kekere-Ekun said.
“Where the maker of a document is not called to testify, the document should not be accorded probative value, not withstanding its status as a certified copy document.”
The justice further stated that the testimony of PW49 is evidence to the fact that exhibit A9 could be a conclusive proof of the number of accredited voters at the election.
Kekere-Ekun said witnesses at the tribunal had testified that where the card reader failed to read a voter’s PVC, incident forms were used, but that none of the forms were tendered by the first and second respondent.
She also noted that out of the 11 voters registers tendered for 11 out of 23 local government areas of the state, no attempt was made to link them to exhibits A9, which contained the number of accredited voters.
She added that documents before the court proved that the number of accredited voters stated in forms ECA8 was different from the number stated in exhibit A9.
This, she said, was grossly inadequate in proving non-compliance, which is expected to have been done, poling units by poling units, according to the provision of the constitution.
She said, “Section 139 of the Constitution states that where a petitioner complains of non-compliance with the provisions of the act, he has an onerous task of proving it, poling unit by poling unit, ward by ward and the standard of proof is on a balance of probabilities.”
Meanwhile, Wike yesterday received the Authority Newspaper’s Governor of the Year award in Abuja.
Aside that, the governor also got awards from The Sun and Independent Newspapers as “Governor of the Year.”
The award was received on his behalf by his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Banigo-Harry, who thanked the management of the newspaper for the award, saying the recognition is significant as the state celebrates it golden jubilee.
Harry-Banigo assured that the governor is poised to do more in pursuance of his vision for a better and prosperous Rivers State.

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COVID-19: Interministarial Committee Takes Enlightenment Campaign To Religious Leaders

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The Rivers State Inter-Ministarial Committee on COVID-19 Enlightenment on Sunday, commenced another phase of its campaign with a focus on religious organisations, beginning with Churches.
Addressing volunteers to the campaign at the State Secretariate Complex, Chairman of the Committee, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, charged the volunteers to take this phase of the campaign as serious as they had taken the previous one.
Nsirim, who is also the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, stated that the need to embark on this phase of the campaign is necessitated by the revelation that many people are not adhering to the COVID-19 prevention advisories of wearing face mask and social distancing.
Recalling that the State Governor noted this in his last State broadcast, the Chairman said the Governor “lamented that people in the State are not observing the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.

“The danger”, he continued, “is that if we don’t adhere to these protocols, we may likely enter community transmission of coronavirus in the state”.

 

Consequently, he explained, “We are going to be doing targeted sensitization. The three Sundays that we have in this month we will use to sensitize churches, and on Fridays, we will also do targeted sensitization to Muslim community”.
He further explained the importance of reaching religious leaders in the fight against the coronavirus, saying they are strategically placed to reach a considerable population.
According to him, the churches and mosques are very important because “the religious leaders wield a lot of influence. Members of their congregation listen to the things that they say. If we are able to get the churches to begin to observe the protocols, we are going to get to a greater number, a greater population in the society”.
He, therefore, charged the volunteers to go beyond the jingles currently being aired by the Committee in delivering COVID-19 enlightenment messages to interfacing with the people, noting that they shouldn’t add the role of enforcement to their assignment.
“As you interface with people, you must be wearing your face mask very well. Don’t put it under your chin.
“You are not an enforcement team. Don’t go and give yourself the power of enforcing the wearing of face mask. Don’t go and harass people that are not wearing face mask. Don’t go and assault people that are not wearing face mask. Your duty is purely enlightenment and sensitization.
“When you see people who are not wearing face mask, you enlighten them on the importance of wearing face mask. We don’t want to hear that any member of this team went and entered into any form of altercation”, he charged.
While assuring them of immeasurable rewards accruable from selfless service to humanity, the Chairman also reminded them of the innate desire of the the State Governor, which is ultimately to make Rivers State safe, as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“Anyone that is called to do patriotic duty needs to understand that the crux of the matter is that you are here to save lives, and for you to save lives, you must have the passion to render selfless service. It’s important that I underscore that fact”, he said.

Responding on behalf of the volunteers, one of the Team Leaders, Adata Brown, assured that they will do their best to ensure that Rivers

people get the required message to enhance their safety from the virus.
“We want to say we are going to put in our best, we are going to work and make the governor of the state proud, and to make the whole Rivers State proud”, she said.
Other members of the Inter-Ministarial Committee present were the Commissioner’s of Environment, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, and Youth: Dr Igbiks’ Tamuno, Barr Olisaeloka Tasie-Amadi, and Prince Ohia respectively.
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Be Role Models In COVID-19 Campaign, Nsirim Charges Religious Leaders …RSG To Arrest People Who Refuse To Wear Face Mask

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In furtherance of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has called on religious leaders in the State to path the way for their congregation.
The Commissioner, who made the call on Saturday, during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, hinted that by their status they represent a section of the society with notable group of followers, hence the need for them to be role models.
One way to show this, he said is for them to strictly obey the State Government’s advisories on measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, including ensuring that not more than 70 persons are allowed per session of service.
Citing churches, he noted that they have so far flouted this directive. “and that is something that is worrisome”, he said.
He continued that “Christians need to be role models. If there’s a group of people who should show good example, it should be Chriatians. When Christians begin to flout

government directives, I don’t think there’s any hope for society.
“This is a Clarion call to religious leaders. We shouldn’t sacrifice the lives of our members on the alter of church worship. Jesus Christ is our role model. Jesus Christ was a man who obeyed authority, who did not come in confrontation with the law, and the Bible teaches us to obey those in authority”, he emphasized.
Also, against the backdrop of high non-compliance to the COVID-19 advisory of wearing face mask in public places, the Rivers State Government (RSG) says it will soon begin to arrest defaulters.
This is sequel to the declaration of the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in his last State broadcast on Wednesday, in which he stated that those who refuse to wear face mask risk arrest.
Confirming the Governor’s statement, the State’s spokesman unequivocally said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“If you go around the State since the Executive Order on face mask was introduced, you’ll notice that less than 30 per cent of the populace are really obeying the Executive Order. What we see in the State is that people just put the mask under their chin, including in the churches.
“The Governor is saying that to grant the wearing of face mask the kind of weight it deserves, to save our people, a special Task Force to monitor it will be put in place. That is the only sure way”, he said.
He recalled that the Governor in his broadcast expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.
“Government will introduce policies. The onus is on the populace to obey those policies … The COVID-19 pandemic has defied medical solutions for now. So, to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State need to take responsibility.
“It’s important that everyone living and doing business in Rivers State should have the kind of passion that His Excellency has to flatten

the curve. He’s desirous that Rivers State remains safe.
“That’s why every day he’s enunciating policies to ensure that strategically, the State is isolated from the national spread.
“He’s one man who would require the cooperation and understanding of citizens here to ensure that what he has in mind for the State is actualized”, the Commissioner concluded.
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Governor Wike’s Reply To Governor Uzodinma Was Concocted – RSG

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The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the news circulating in the Social Media that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State denigrated his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The purveyors of the deliberate falsehood alleged that Governor  Wike  replied Governor Uzodinma over a recent statement where he allegedly boasted that “the All Progressives Congress (APC)  will teach the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor  Wike how to conduct a  transparent election in the forthcoming Edo State gubernatorial election.”
The concocted story only existed in the imagination of the authors and so there was also no disparaging comment by Governor Wike.
Members of the public are hereby advised to discountenance all the information contained in the said publication as they did not emanate from Governor Wike.
Paulinus Nsirim
Commissioner for Information and Communications
July 10, 2020.
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