The Rivers State Government has reiterated its commitment to promote peace and security of all residents of the state.
The state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, stated this during the swearing-in ceremony of the new Country President of the United Nations Positive Livelihood Award Centre (UNPOLAC), Dr. Priscilla Somieari Charles Bassey, in Port Harcourt, at the weekend.
The governor, who spoke through his Deputy, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said the theme of the lecture, “Building Peace and Curbing Restiveness for National Development”, was apt because Nigeria is yearning for peace and national development.
He expressed gratitude for the Mayor of Peace Award conferred on him by the United Nations POLAC Peace Programme, stating that he had earlier received an award as an Ambassador of Peace.
Wike, who reiterated his commitment to passionately pursue peace at all times, said as part of deliberate efforts to promote peace, his administration extended an olive branch to ex-militants through an amnesty programme where about 22, 000 repentant cultists surrendered their weapons voluntarily without receiving any money because their mind set has been changed to realise they have a brighter future.
He said some people did not expect it to happen, and tried to discourage him but he doggedly went for it, and recorded a huge success.
“This administration will continue to further peace, develop peace, run after peace, think peace, talk peace, and walk with others for peace,” he stressed.
According to him, the State Boundary Commission has been able to tackle and peacefully resolve several issues involving the communities which previously had been left unresolved for several years.
He congratulated Bishop Pricilla Somieari Bassey, who is a Rivers indigene and the first female president of UNPOLAC in Nigeria, and expressed government’s readiness to support and partner with the organization.
In her remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Hajia Raheemat Omoro Momodu, who is the pioneer ECOWAS Representative to the African Union, commended Governor Nyesom Wike, whom she described as her favourite governor, for his developmental strides in the state.
Momodu said the time has come for Nigerians to make concerted efforts to promote peace and unity in the country by taking actions to prevent conflicts.
She identified nepotism as one of the highest, most wicked, most criminal and evil form of corruption.
“You may not realize the dangers nepotism poses but when you feel the impact, you will realize that nepotism can actually legitimize corruption,” she said.
Earlier, the Director General, UN-POLAC, Dr. Halo Eton, said UN-POLAC was an international autonomous institution with the UN and UNESCO, adding that POLAC has the promotion of peace as its mandate.
He said making of peace every time, the creation of peaceful environment everywhere and always ensuring that people live in peace wherever they find themselves, were the responsibilities of UN-POLAC.
Rev Emmanuel Ojukwu and Barrister Innocent Ekwu presented keynote addresses advocating for peace in the society.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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