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Buhari, Wike Seek Monarchs’ Role In Nation Building …As RSG Says Health Sector Repositioning, On Course

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has reiterated his call for the decentralisation and depoliticisation of security services as a way of resolving the deadly security challenges facing the country.
Wike noted that that the security services as presently constituted, cannot address the security challenges facing the country, where lives are wasted regularly, while governors are helpless.
Speaking during the 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Wike said that the Rivers State Government has taken steps to improve the security of the state through the setting up of a neighbourhood watch.
He said: “For us in Rivers State, our position on state and community policing is very clear. While we join our voices with other well-meaning Nigerians to strongly and emphatically demand for the decentralization and depoliticisation of security services, we are also not resting on the back of helplessness to do nothing.
“Already, we have forwarded a bill to the state House of Assembly to establish the Neighbourhood Security Corps to cooperate, support and complement the efforts of the regular security agencies in policing our communities and advancing their security.”
The governor noted that: “The reality before the nation is that centralised policing has flatly failed and is incapable of resolving the enormous security challenges of a vast and culturally diverse country like Nigeria.
“And even as we may continue to live in denial, the recurring bloodbaths in Benue, Taraba and other states have once again exposed the weaknesses of our country’s centralised policing system as well as the frustrations and near complete helplessness of state governors in their quest to provide adequate security for the communities and the people that they govern.
“We can only imagine the magnitude of the sufferings and pains ordinary Nigerians are going through when the daily pains of violence and insecurity are added to the unending pressure of poverty, unemployment and lack of development,” the governor said.
Wike said that at a time like this, it will be ungodly for good men to remain silent while the nation is dangerously wobbling, and urged all well-meaning persons to be counted among those who will work for the resolution of the security challenges facing the country.
He said that Rivers State was peaceful, working and brimming with ample economic opportunities for investors to take advantage of.
The governor said the traditional institution must wake up to their responsibilities by lending their strong and respected voices to the national agitations for true federalism, resource control, greater devolution of powers, as well as state and community policing and good governance in the country.
Wike said: “In all these, our traditional rulers have significant roles to play to protect and defend the nation’s unity and advance the rights of our people to democracy, good governance and development.”
Declaring the 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria open, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that his administration will take steps to promote security of lives and property.
He noted that security challenges seem to be deliberate and an attempt to undermine the nation’s territorial integrity.
Represented by the Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Abdulrahman Danbazzau , the President said that he was saddened by the wastage of human lives in different parts of the country.
He directed security agencies to identify and bring to book all those involved in deadly crimes.
In a keynote address, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris said that the police alone cannot tackle insecurity without the support of traditional rulers and their subjects.
In a paper titled: “Community Policing as a Catalyst to Crime Prevention: The Role of Traditional Rulers “, the Inspector General of Police said that community policing involves the engagement of the community in tackling security challenges.
In his address, Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar requested governments at all levels to work towards enhancing security.
He urged the traditional rulers to take the camaraderie that exist in the forum to their respective communities for national peace.
Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja said Nigerians must rise above partisan consideration in the quest for peace.
The Co-Chairman of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria and Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi urged Nigerians to keep politics aside, engage in peer review on ways to develop the country.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Dr Ipalibo Harry Banigo has described the state Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike as an astute and sagacious statesman whose commitment to the unity and progress of Nigeria is unequivocal.
Banigo made this known in a statement in Government House, Port Harcourt, in reaction to the governor’s hosting of the 9th General Assembly of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria.
The deputy governor said “Governor Wike has continued to demonstrate an extra ordinary prowess in his inter personal human relationship with people from diverse socio cultural, political, religious and economic divide in the country which has made him one of the greatest exponents of a unified Nigeria”.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the process for the re-positioning of all levels of the health sector was effectively on course, with the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment for the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital (BMSH).
Wike also declared that the total rehabilitation of structures at the BMSH will create the right environment for quality tertiary healthcare delivery.
In an interview after an inspection visit to the hospital in Port Harcourt, last Monday, Wike said that the health sector will continue to recover priority attention from his administration.
The governor, who was accompanied on the project inspection by the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said that majority of the equipment procured by the state government for the hospital have arrived.
Wike said: “Our objective is to improve the standard of the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital as a centre of excellence in tertiary healthcare delivery.
“In terms of equipment, the contractors have done well. Eighty per cent of the equipment have arrived the hospital premises and they will be installed as soon as the rehabilitation”.
He, however, noted that the progress of work on the structural rehabilitation is slow; hence the contractors should expedite action.
“We believe the contractors should deploy more workforce for the rehabilitation of the hospital. The state government is doing what is necessary to enhance the quality of the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital”, he said.
The governor also inspected the ongoing reconstruction of the Doctors’ Quarters at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, and advised the contractors to improve on the pace of work.
He assured that funding of the projects will be sustained early completion.
The governor was briefed during the project inspection by the Medical Director of Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Dr Paul Kua, and Director of Nursing, Mrs. Ajumoke Okpu.
It would be recalled that the Wike administration has completed the reconstruction and equipping of 13 general hospitals spread across the three senatorial districts of the state.

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North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.

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Boxing: Joshua Facing Toughest Test In Usyk?

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Boxing champion, Anthony Joshua could face his toughest test yet when he fights Oleksandr Usyk in London on Saturday, says ex-world champion George Groves.
Joshua, 31, puts his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO world heavyweight titles on the line against Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion.
The 34-year-old Ukrainian has won all 18 professional fights, beating Tony Bellew and Derek Chisora on that run.
“Technically, Usyk is brilliant,” said Groves . “He showed that in unifying the cruiserweight division in great fights and I believe he could be Joshua’s toughest test to date. This is the first fight when I wouldn’t be surprised if Joshua got beaten.
“Joshua has fought [Wladimir] Klitschko and been in with Joseph Parker and also been beaten [by Andy Ruiz] and the only question mark for Usyk Is he big enough to compete with AJ?
“If Usyk keeps a high pace and makes Joshua miss with a lot of shots, that will work to Usyk’s advantage as he has probably got a better engine.
“Joshua is a phenomenal athlete with tremendous punching power and strength but has a tendency to tire out if the pace is uncomfortable for him.”
A crowd of more than 60,000 is expected and it will be the largest attendance Joshua has fought in front of since his win over Alexander Povetkin with 80,000 at Wembley Stadium in September, 2018.
Since then, Joshua has lost to Ruiz in New York before winning the rematch in Saudi Arabia and gained a ninth-round victory over Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev at Wembley Arena last December, with only 1,000 fans attending because of Coronavirus restrictions.
Both Joshua and Usyk won gold medals at the 2012 London Olympics, at super-heavyweight and heavyweight respectively, with the Briton going on to win 24 of his 25 professional fights, including 22 inside the distance.
Meanwhile, Dillian Whyte, who lost to Joshua in 2015 and is pushing for a rematch with him or a shot at WBC champion, Tyson Fury, believes the key to beating Usyk on Saturday is to adopt an attacking strategy.
“I think it’s a great fight and Joshua will stop him in the first six or seven rounds,” Whyte told Tidesports source.
“Usyk will start fast and Joshua should be cagey as Usyk is a bit lighter. Joshua can sometimes lack confidence but hopefully he goes back to the old him, starts pressing, being the bigger, stronger guy and gets the job done early.
“If Joshua sets the pace, he can get an early knockout and if he is strong, confident and walks him down, then I don’t see Usyk’s punches troubling Joshua.”
Groves, who held the WBA Super-Middleweight belt in 2017 and 2018, added: “If I was Joshua, I would take control of the ring and try to dominate and bully off the front foot.
“Usyk will want to be off the back foot for the first couple of rounds, then try to pepper Joshua.
“If I was in the Joshua camp, I would say: You want to keep this guy in his box. You don’t want Usyk having any confidence, so hit him hard and early.
“In the first three rounds, you want to land something big on him.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn also suggested Joshua could get an early victory.
Hearn said: “I’m always nervous for an Anthony Joshua fight, especially when you’re fighting someone that really believes he is going to win”.

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2022 AFCON: ‘Cameroon On Track’

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The Confederation of African Football (CAF) President, Patrice Motsepe, has said that Cameroon is “on track” to successfully host the Africa Cup of Nations early next year after visiting Olembe Stadium in Yaounde last weekend.
The venue will host the opening match and final of the AFCON in January and February of 2022.
A CAF delegation, including President Motsepe and General Secretary, Veron Mosengo-Omba, were joined by Cameroon’s Sports Minister, Professor Narcisse Mouelle Kombi in inspecting progress made at the Olembe Stadium and various other facilities in the capital city.
“I’m very satisfied with the briefing I got and what I saw. I saw the Olembe Stadium and it is world class; we should all be proud as people of Cameroon and as Africans,” said Motsepe, as quoted by CAF’s website.
“We must applaud Cameroon [for] building such infrastructure. In partnership with the Government, the Minister of Sports, LOC, FECAFOOT President and CAF administration under Veron [Mosengo-Omba], I’m certain that in January next year, the rest of the world will be impressed. I’m very satisfied with what I have seen. We are on track.”
Motsepe continued: “The quality of football that will be played here will once again show the world that Africa has the quality to one day win the FIFA World Cup, that is the ultimate goal. The AFCON is special and I think it is important for us to set the tone in Cameroon.”
Mosengo-Omba also heaped praises on Olembe Stadium: “The infrastructure and architecture of the stadium is world class and can be compared to many other famous stadiums globally. In Cameroon, we have six beautiful match venues. Our job now is to ensure that we are ready with everything else.”

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