Millions of Nigerians have condemned, in strong terms, the attacks on the convey of the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS) attached to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, last Saturday, in Port Harcourt.
The attack, which took place at Nwaja Junction at Trans-Amadi, Port Harcourt during the governor’s project inspection, led to the knocking down of the governor’s outrider and attack on the Pilot 1 driver by the SARS men under the instruction of their Commander, CSP Akin Fakorede at the behest of Amaechi.
Stakeholders, who reacted to the untoward incident across the country, described the minister’s meddling in the governance of the state as an affront on the rule of law and democracy in Nigeria, and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to act fast to stop the tendency by some of his ministers and appointees to resort to the brazen impunity and lawlessness to save the nation’s democracy from total collapse.
Reacting to the incident, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemned the minister’s action as untoward and childish.
In a statement, yesterday, signed by the Head, Publicity Division, Adm. Chinwe Nnorom, the party said it was “once again constrained to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to another assassination attempt by his Minister of Transportation, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi on the Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike yesterday being Saturday, November 11, 2017, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
“The convoy of Governor Wike was ambushed by a contingent of security apparatus led by the Commander of Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in Rivers State, CSP Akin Fakorede and supervised by Amaechi’s ADC, Mr. Debewari. These constant harassments and attempts on the life of Governor Wike is an open invitation to anarchy and another plan of the APC to ignite crisis against Rivers State,” the party said.
It recalled that “the public is aware that the minister of transportation has been making attempts on the life of Governor Wike, and in all of the attempts, the Commander of SARS in Rivers State, Akin Fakorede is ever ready to lead the ill-advised onslaught.
“Again, we condemn this attack in very strong terms and call on President Buhari to order the immediate transfer of Fakorede of SARS out of Rivers State. Any delay in effecting this change will be taken that President Buhari is fully in charge of these ugly activities in the state.
“We are also calling on the international community to take note of these chains of activity that are carefully planned by the ruling APC and being executed by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. If anything happens to Governor Wike or his immediate family and aides, the APC and Amaechi should be held responsible. ‘A stitch in time saves nine’,” the party added.
Similarly, a Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has decried the assassination attempt on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike by operatives of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) attached to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, saying that President Muhammadu Buhari should urgently call the minister to order.
Fani-Kayode on his Twitter handle said: “Using SARS thugs to attempt to murder Governor Nyesom Wike and knocking down his outrider with a car will not help Ameachi win Rivers State. It will only lead to bloodshed, reprisals and a vicious cycle of violence, death and destruction. I urge @MBuhari to call his mad dog to order.”
Also reacting, members of D-Source Connect Group, a social media group based in Rivers State, condemned in its entirety, an attempt on the life of Governor Nyesom Wike by men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) attached to the minister of transportation.
In a statement on behalf of the group, its Coordinator, Barrister Dike Vincent Amadi, described the attack on the governor as barbaric and complete display of insanity by the men of F-SARS, and the height of frustration and desperation by Amaechi.
The group said that the attack was a confirmation that Fakorede was in Rivers State to compromise the security architecture of the state, and also proves that Amaechi and the APC are behind several security issues in the state.
The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government and well-meaning Nigerians to call the minister to order.
In their reaction, members of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Rivers State chapter also condemned the assassination attempt on the life of Governor Nyesom Wike by operatives of F-SARS in Rivers State led by their Commander, CSP Akin Fakorede.
ALGON, explained that the governor was in his charismatic manner, on routine projects’ inspection at the Trans Amadi area when he was attacked by the SARS operatives attached to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, and said the attack was an act of lawlessness and crass abuse of privilege as security officers.
“We hereby call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his minister of transportation and the SARS commander in Rivers State to order, and appeal that the Federal Government prioritises the security of the governor of Rivers State to avoid any further reoccurrence of this despicable act,” the statement signed by Chairman, Caretaker Committee, PHALGA, and Chairman, ALGON, Rivers State, Charles Chima Orlu, indicated.
“If the Federal Government fails in this onerous task, we, as leaders of ALGON in the state will have no other option than to mobilise our people to always protect our God-given governor as he carries on in his duty of developing our dear state,” the statement added.
A statement by the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, last Saturday had said that the ugly incident occurred at Nwaja Junction, on Trans Amadi Road when the governor was inspecting ongoing road construction project in the area.
The statement said the governor’s outrider was allegedly hit by the convoy of the minister, and the policemen in the governor’s pilot car attacked.
The tension was, however, heightened when some of the SARS operatives allegedly cocked the guns, resulting in the chief security detail to the governor physically chasing the men away.
The drama, according to eyewitnesses, lasted for over 30 minutes before the governor proceeded on the inspection of some ongoing projects in the state.
Wike, according to the statement, was not hurt in the incident.
The statement reads in full: “Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike on Saturday escaped assassination as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operatives and soldiers of the Nigerian Army in the motorcade of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi attacked his convoy.
“The governor, who was on project inspection, was attacked at Nwaja Junction on Trans-Amadi Road.
“The SARs personnel and soldiers in the minister’s convoy hit down the governor’s escort rider and attacked the policemen in the pilot car.
“The Aide-De-Camp to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Debewari, supervised the attack, which included damage of cameras held by journalists on the project inspection tour.
“Also part of the attack was the Commander of Rivers SARS, Mr Akin Fakorede, who received the minister of transportation at the Port Harcourt International Airport and accompanied him on his trip.
“After the attack, the Rivers State governor continued with his inspection of projects. Wike was not harmed, despite the attack.
“The minister of transportation had over 50 SARS personnel, soldiers and mobile policemen in his motorcade during the attack,” the statement added.
The projects inspection, around Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas, took the governor to ongoing reconstruction of the Court of Appeal and Produce House.
He also inspected the construction of the National Industrial Court, the dualization of Birabi Street in GRA Phase 1, construction of Mile One Market and Sani Abacha Road in GRA Phase 3.
The governor was accompanied on the inspection by the Rivers State PDP Chairman, Bro Felix Obuah, among others.
Meanwhile, three youths of Luebe community in Khana Local Government Area of the state have been feared dead, while several others suffered various degrees of injury following attacks by alleged operatives of SARS at about 8:15pm, last Friday.
The Paramount Ruler of the community, Chief Micah Saakara, who confirmed the incident, accused men of SARS in Bori, who allegedly opened fire on the youth claimed to be on local security surveillance duty in the area.
Community sources had claimed that the youth had noticed that the alleged SARS operatives were escorting some elements conveying illegally refined crude oil through Luebe to Ndoki in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state, and attempted to know what mission they were on when the suspected SARS personnel opened fire.
In a swift reaction, the Caretaker Committee Chairman of Khana LGA, Chief Gbene Lekue Zini condemned the incident, and called on the Commissioner of Police, Zaki Ahmed to investigate, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
Zini also called on the people of Luebe to remain calm and law abiding as the government would make sure that justice was not delayed in the matter.
Rivers State Needs College of Education-Don
Following the upgrade of the former College of Education to a university, a university teacher has sued for the establishment of a new college of education to replace the old one.
The plea was made by a lecturer in the political Science Department of the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Iwarimie Uranta.
Uranta who made his views known in an interview with The Tide pointed out that College of Education if established will address the middle manpower in the educational system of the state.
For now, Uranta said “there is a vacuum,” National Certificate of Education (NCE) will help bridge the gap of middle manpower in the teaching profession.”
He continued”, it will boost the teaching of core courses, because NCE teachers are trained as teachers in those courses”.
The university don pointed out that currently there is a limited number of people who wants to do education. It reduce pressure on the universities and reduce social vices by the youths, Uranta stressed.
Besides, he said the current reforms in the educational system will benefit as many private schools will have manpower to recruit instead of engaging quacks in their schools.
In a similar vein, Head of Educational Psychology/ Guidance and Counselling in the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Dr. Sunday Ordu has commended the State Government
for the policy to sanitise privately schools in the state.
“A lot of private schools don not have professional teachers so the policy is in the right direction.
It will improve manpower faculties to enhance educational growth. The environment must be conducive” he added.
RSG Implements TSA To Block Revenue Leakages, Soon …Tasks State Internal Revenue Service To Grow Monthly IGR To N10bn …Seeks Informal Sector’s Support Through Payment Of Prescribed Taxes
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has announced that the state government would soon commence the operation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) to boost its revenue base.
Wike also charged the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS) to grow the state’s monthly Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to N10billion.
He spoke during the flag off of Informal Sector Tax Drive with vehicles donated by Access Bank Limited at the Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said: “We will initiate the Treasury Single Account to block revenue leakages. I assure that very soon, the Treasury Single Account will become operational.
“The Treasury Single Account will be implemented to checkmate what is presently going on. It is not good to have several accounts which lead to unnecessary leakages.
“Our revenue base fluctuates. The board has been directed to expedite action for the state to hit N10billion Internally Generated Revenue every month.”
Wike explained that the Treasury Single Account will be diligently implemented in the interest of Rivers State, and restated that his allegiance was to Rivers people who voted him, because he was not sponsored by any group.
He urged the informal sector to support the Rivers State Government by paying their taxes as prescribed by the Rivers Internal Revenue Service (RIRS).
“The drive for informal sector tax is key. I believe it will boost our revenue base, and we need it”, he said, and thanked Access Bank Limited for supporting the revenue drive of the state with the donation of 10 buses.
In his remarks, the Chairman of Rivers State Internal Revenue Service (RIRS), Mr Adoage Norte said that the flag off of the informal sector tax drive would ensure that informal sector entrepreneurs pay their taxes.
He said that at present, the informal sector has not been paying taxes, explaining that the flag off would unlock the tax potentials of the informal sector.
Norte lauded Access Bank Plc for supporting the informal tax drive of the Rivers State Internal Revenue Service with the donation of 10 buses, pointing out that the buses would be used across the state.
He added that the service was also in dire need of branded kiosks for point of sales transactions, and suggested the operation of Treasury Single Account to optimize revenue generation in the state.
Representative of the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr David Tinad, thanked the Rivers State Government for the opportunity to partner on revenue generation.
He assured the Rivers State Government that Access Bank Plc would continue to support efforts by the state government to improve its revenue base.
Fake Policemen Disrupted Polls In Bayelsa, Kogi, IGP Admits …Says We’re Aware People Planned To Wear Police Uniforms …As Senate Moves To Okay E-Voting For Future Polls
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu, has said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted Saturday’s governorship polls in parts of Bayelsa and Kogi States were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the polls had “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
He spoke with State House correspondents after President Muhammadu Buhari and security chiefs held a meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday.
However, he said an investigation was ongoing, while 11 arrests had been made.
Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, said that the police were aware of the plan by politicians to sew police uniforms for their supporters during the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections.
The IGP also said that ‘policemen’ alleged to have disrupted the November 16 governorship polls in parts of the two states were “fake” and not the personnel officially deployed for election duties.
Briefing State House correspondents after a security meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, Adamu stated that all security personnel, who worked during the elections were given “special identification tags”, adding that anyone without the tags was on illegal duty.
The IGP, who said that the security situation in the country was stable, however, said investigation was ongoing to unravel the identities of those that caused violence during the elections, adding that 11 arrests had been made.
On the alleged police extortion of motorists in South East by police officers at checkpoints, he advised that people should always copy the names of such police officers and report them to the police hierarchy in the area.
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a fresh electoral reform which has mandated the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to adopt the much-awaited electronic voting method for future polls.
The lawmakers also compelled INEC to operate an electronic database into which all results in an election should be transmitted.
A bill to amend the Electoral Act 2010 through which the reform would be achieved has already been published in an official gazette and debate on its general principles may begin on the floor of the Senate during the week.
A copy of the bill, made available to newsmen, also stipulates that data of accredited voters must be transmitted to the central data base upon the conclusion of the accreditation of voters which would be done through the use of the card reader.
“At the end of accreditation of voters, the presiding officer shall transmit the voter accreditation data by secure mobile electronic communication to the central database of the commission kept at the national headquarters of the commission.
“Any presiding officer who contravenes this provision shall be liable, on conviction, to a minimum of imprisonment of at least five years without an option of fine,” the bill also stipulates.
It prevents INEC from shutting down the central data base until all petitions arising from the elections are determined by a tribunal or court.
“In respect of data of accreditation of voters, including polling unit results, for an election, the commission shall not shut down its central database kept at its national headquarters until all election petitions and appeals pertaining to that election are heard and determined by a tribunal or court.”
On the specific provisions for the adoption of the central database, the bill, which is being sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege and Abubakar Kyari (APC, Borno State), seeks amendment of Section 65 of the Electoral Act 2010 by introducing a “National Electronic Register of Election Results.”
It states: “The commission shall compile, maintain and update on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which shall be a database of election results from each polling unit, including collated results of each election conducted by the commission.
“National Electronic Register of Election Results shall be kept by the commission at its national headquarters and any person or political party may obtain from the commission, on payment of reasonable fees as may be determined by the commission, a certified true copy of any election result kept in the National Electronic Register of Election Results for the federation, a state, local government, area council, ward or polling unit, as the case may be and the certified true copy may be in printed or electronic format.”
On electronic voting, the Electoral Reform Bill seeks amendment of Section 52 (2) of the 2010 Electoral Act and introduced a new provision stating that “the commission may adopt electronic voting or any other method of voting in any election it conducts as it may deem fit.”
It was learned that many lawmakers are not comfortable with the additional clause which permits INEC to use any other method it deems fit and may delete that option during the consideration of the bill.
The current law completely prohibits the use of electronic voting as it states: “The use of the electronic voting machine, for the time being, is prohibited.”
The reform bill has also slashed the nomination fees charged by political parties.
Presidential aspirants are to pay not more than N10million while governorship aspirants are to pay N5million.
Specifically, the bill states: “For the purpose of nomination of candidates for election, the total fees, charges, dues and any payment howsoever named imposed by a political party on an aspirant shall not exceed: N150,000 for a ward councillorship aspirant in the FCT; N250,000 for an area council chairmanship aspirant in the FCT; N500,000 for a House of Assembly aspirant; N1,000,000 for a House of Representatives aspirant; N2,000,000 for a senatorial aspirant; N5,000,000 for a governorship aspirant; and N10,000,000 for a presidential aspirant.”
The Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly had attempted the electoral reform but failed to get the presidential approval at the end.
The bill sought to strengthen internal democracy, reduce the cost of politics, widen political participation and the conduct of free fair and credible elections through technological innovations and an electronic database.
However, there were concerns raised over the enforceability of some of its provisions.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in refusing to sign that bill, had said: “I am declining assent to the bill principally because I am concerned that passing a new electoral bill this far into the electoral process for the 2019 general election, which commenced under the 2015 Electoral Act, could create some uncertainty about the applicable legislation to govern the process.
“Any real or apparent change to the rules this close to the election may provide an opportunity for disruption and confusion in respect of which law governs the electoral process.”
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