An Ijaw activist and one of the living patriots of old Rivers State, Rev. Dr Sokari Soberekon, has called on the Federal government to use the over $40 million recovered in Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos State, to rebuild the Port Harcourt Main Market which was destroyed during the civil war some 50 year ago.
He was speaking in an exclusive interview yesterday against the backdrop of the recent eviction of traders at the Mile One Flyover in Diobu, Port Harcourt, arguing that the rebuilt Port Harcourt Main Market will provide stalls for many of the traders displaced at the Mile One Flyover.
Sokari, as he is popularly called, also urged the President Muhammadu Buhari government to use part of the money to build a permanent primary and secondary school for the police at the Central Police Station (CPS) football field in old Port Harcourt township which is currently being used as a scraps dump, adding that the Police Children’s School that is temporarily occupying the site of the Port Harcourt main market should be relocated to CPS football field.
Sokari said the recovered money is part of the crude oil revenue which Rivers State is a major producer and should be channelled towards the development of the state which, he said, has suffered so much neglect since oil was found in the state many years ago.
He noted that the temporary occupation of the site of the market by the Police Children’s School is a violation of the right of the people, adding that neither the Onitsha main market, the Sabongari market in Kano nor the Yaba market site in Lagos can be occupied by the police or any government agency for up to 50 days, much more 50 years.
The “Senior Advocate of the Niger Delta” said the rebuilding of the Port Harcourt main market would also save Port Harcourt the menace of street trading which Governor Nyesom Wike is trying to tackle adding: “The Federal Government should help Governor Wike to help us”.
Sokari said: “I sympathized with the Federal Government when the Niger Delta Avengers were destroying oil facilities which reduced the nation’s revenue and President Buhari was on the verge of borrowing money before some of us advised him against it. However, with this kind of recovered money, the Federal Government should be able to rebuild the Port Harcourt main market and build a permanent primary and secondary school for the police at the CPS football field”.
He explained that the police can use the Sharks Football Stadium which is a short walk distance from CPS, for its sporting activities.
US Deploys UNODC Funding To Fight Human Trafficking
The United States Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) has announced approximately $6.8million in contributions to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for projects in Nigeria to combat trafficking in persons.
The INL donation would fund UNODC to train the Nigeria Correctional Service in Borno, Gombe, and Adamawa states.
The funds would also support UNODC’s Middle Belt Investigations project by ensuring local police investigators in the states of Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, and Nasarawa have the training and resources to respond more effectively to incidents of criminality, kidnapping, and conflict.
The project also aims to improve the capacity of local courts and prosecutors by increasing transparency and adherence to due process for cases related to the activities of Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa.
The United States values its relationship with Nigeria and, through our partnership with the UNODC, provides support to its work combatting drugs, crime, and corruption, and building the capacity of the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
INL funds were made possible through appropriations made by Congress to the U.S. Department of State to support efforts in the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking worldwide.
Police Nab Nigerian With 550grams Of Mephedrone In India
Nigerian national, UcheIhuarulam, 31, has been arrested in Mumbai,India with 550grams of mephedrone, worth Rs 55 lakh.
The drugs were seized from him by the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC).
The Worli unit of ANC was said to have received a tip-off about a Nigerian coming to deliver mephedrone at Sewri-Wadala road on Sunday evening.
Accordingly, the unit laid a trap and detained Ihuarulam.
“On conducting a search, we found 550gm of mephedrone on him and arrested him,” the officer said.
The Indian Express quoted the officer as saying that during his interrogation, they found that Ihuarulam had been staying in India for the last three years, and is part of a gang of Nigerian nationals that supplied drugs to the city.
The officer alleged that in the last few months, there have been several cases of narcotics, especially mephedrone, being smuggled into Mumbai by gangs of Nigerian nationals residing in Navi Mumbai and Vasai-Virar.
“We are keeping an eye on these gangs that supply narcotics to the city.”
IGP Plans 20,000 To Join Force By 2022
The delay in the recruitment of more police officers was caused by the clash of interests between the Police Service Commission (PSC) and the police hierarchy over the appropriate body to conduct the exercise.
The Inspector General of Police, Alkali Baba, who disclosed this yesterday in Minna, the Niger State capital, added that 20,000 more personnel would be recruited into the Force by next year.
He, however, disclosed that the dispute had been resolved, adding that the recruitment of 10,000 personnel for the Force will commence soon.
The IGP further explained that “between now and year 2022, about 20,000 personnel will be engaged by the Force to boost its manpower.”
Baba while addressing officers and men of the Niger state police command at the police headquarters in Minna said, “Our problem with the Police Service Commission on who recruits is over, the recruitment which we started in 2020, will be completed soon and by the year 2022, 20,000 men would have been added to the force.”
He also disclosed that training and retraining of officers and men of the force will now be given top priority, adding that the police colleges across the country while trainees in the colleges will now eat and sleep there.
The IGP, who said he is a member of a national committee looking into the accommodation of policemen, said they have decided that about 1,500 houses would be provided for the police between now and 2022.
“There will be a change, we will give you uniforms which you are not getting before, officers will buy uniforms, and rank and file will also get shoes and berets”
Baba urged his officers to be very prayerful for all the plans to materialism, adding that “the police force has too many enemies, if you are regulating human conduct people will not like you therefore you must pray for the job”.
Earlier during a courtesy visit to the Niger State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, the IGP admonished parents to encourage their children to join the Nigeria Police Force, saying the organization was a honourable one.
He urged state governors to take leadership roles in community policing, noting that it was for young men and women.
Bello, who was represented by his Deputy, Ahmed Ketso, acknowledged the role played by the police in crime prevention and curbing of banditry and kidnapping in the state.
He promised to always support all the security agencies in the state to enable them perform their constitutional roles to the optimum.
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