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Legislators Deliberate On Petitions

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Public petitions dominated proceedings last week at the State House of Assembly.
First, it was the petition from Hon. Sam Ogeh that opened the floor last week, as he drew attention to the pollution ongoing at Akpandele and which affects the Sombreiro River Via Rumuekpe Area in Emohua Local Government Area.
The petition was written by members of Ward 7 in Ndele and presented through Hon. Ogeh who represents the constituency in the house.
Shortly after the Speaker referred the petition to the House Committee Public Complaints and Petitions, the House proceed to screen a commissioner nominee for the Rivers State Civil Service Commission, Mr. Konfaa Abie Harry.
Responding to question from the floor as regards how he (Harry) will improve on his office if finally cleared, the commissioner nominee said he would ensure that the policies and progamme of the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike towards improving the welfare of civil service are implemented.
Harry also pledged to work as a team with other members of the civil service commission for them to achieve set objectives.
After the screening of the commissioner nominee was concluded, Hon. Ogeh presented another petition to the House. This time, the petition was on the worrisome activities of sandminers and dredgers at Okohia, Isiodu in Emohua.
The Emohua Constituency representative submitted that the sandmining was threatening, the environment, and warned that if nothing happens, the situation may deteriorate and affect the East West Road.
In the view of Ogeh, “this sandmining is not for the economic wellbeing of the people but for personal gains, not minding, the negative effects on the environment”.
Worried that the sandmining appears to be unregulated, Ogeh made three pleas, which include for an immediate visit to the site by the Assembly, the interference of the Ministry of Environment and any other action deemed necessary by the assembly.
The second petition by Ogeh sparked debate on the floor of the House when the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani asked for contributions.
Opening the floor, member representing Obio/Akpor Constituency II, Hon. Mike Okechukwu Chinda recommended that first on oversight be carried out on the site of the mining area.
Chinda who was of the view that such matter was in the exclusive list suggested that visit to the site will provide the House ample information on the next line of action.
In his argument, members representing, Asari-Toru II in the House, Hon. Enemi George Alabo posited that protecting the environment was part of the mandate of the Assembly, hence there is need to act swiftly. George Alabo further suggested that the matter be treated with urgency.
Nonetheless, after other lawmakers made their submission the Speaker said the House need to work with caution, especially in coming up with a sound resolution, that will protect the people and the environment.
The Speaker referred the matter to the House Committee on Environment chaired by Hon. Ahiakwo to study the petition before further deliberations.

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CROSIEC Deploys About 8,000 Personnel For LG Elections

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Ahead of the next Saturday’s rescheduled Local Government elections in Cross River, about 8000 personnel are said to have been deployed across the state to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections.
The Chairman of the Cross River State Independent Electoral Commission, Dr. Mike Ushie, who disclosed this in Calabar while
speaking on preparations by the commission, said they are ready for the elections and one hundred percent compliant with post COVID-19
elections guidelines recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission as well as the National Centre for Diseases
Control.
He said: “Eight thousand personnel have been mobilised to cover the two thousand, two hundred and twenty-six polling units in the state.
There will be three personnel per pooling unit, five at the accreditation centres, five at the local government and ward coalition centres.
“Accreditation and voting will take place simultaneously and  in line with INEC guidelines, there will be two levels of queuing  and voters
will vote in batches while maintaining social distance.
“We had to make sure that we are on course and lives are protected. Luckily INEC released the procedure for post COVID-19 elections and I
must say that we are in full compliance with it. INEC said we have to provide hand sanitizers, face masks and we have adopted all the
procedures one hundred percent.
“ We have gone beyond INEC  and have gone ahead to procure hand sanitizers, hand washing containers, a good number of face masks  and
we are working seriously to ensure that the right thing is done”, he said.
He added that the commission has given sufficient notice for the elections and confirmed that five political parties will be participating in Saturday’s elections.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar.
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Ambassador Desmond Akawor Inaugurated As New Rivers State PDP Chairman

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The new Rivers State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Executive Council has been inaugurated in Port Harcourt.
Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly,  Mr Ikuinyi Ibani administered the oath of office on the new executives led by Ambassador Desmond Akawor.
In a charge, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike called on the new executives to work towards consolidating the gains of the immediate past Executive led by Bro Felix Obuah.
He commended immediate past Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah for leading to victory .
He said: “We had challenges at the beginning, but that Executive was committed to service. Obuah has shown capacity to deliver.  It will not be easy for the new executives, but the new executives must start to prepare the party for the challenges ahead.
“Work hard to surpass the records of the past executives.  Working together is key, unity is key.”
Speaking further, Governor Wike said that the Rivers State Government will never condone criminality or any attempt to violate the law.
He said: “But for the steps that , the number of cases would have been more. What makes a leader is the ability  to be firm. I value life more than property.
“Since 2015, we have not demolished any property.  But, someone who was SSG superintended over the demolition of several properties.  Now the person is talking about the draconian process.
“My joy is that majority of Rivers people love what we are doing.”
Governor Wike added that from Information from the State Health Commissioner,  the State is likely to have more cases,  mostly oil workers.
National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus congratulated the new Rivers State PDP Executive Committee,  advising them to work for the growth of the party.
Commenting on the fight against coronavirus,  Uche Secondus blasted the Federal Government for refusing to assist State Governments and provide direction for the country.
He said: “The Governors are working without help from the Federal Government.  But for God, the situation would have been worse.
“Governors are running from pillar to post. We must be grateful to Governor Wike for the initiative that he took. What the Governor has done has helped to drastically reduce the number of cases.
“Rivers State is lucky to have Governor Wike at this time of crisis .”
He said those who spread negative propaganda do so out of hatred.
New Rivers State PDP Chairman,  Ambassador Desmond Akawor thanked ththe leadership and members of the party for giving him the opportunity to serve.
He said God has used Governor Wike to rebuild a new Rivers State.  He saluted the resilience of PDP in weathering the storm.
Akawor assured that the new Executive will serve the party diligently.
Immediate Past PDP State Chairman,  Bro Felix Obuah said that the Executive Committee under his leadership led the party to victory  since 2015.
He said that the outgone Executives will continue to work for the party  to ensure future victory.
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Bode George Urges FG To Relax Lagos Lockdown

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A former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George has urged federal government to relax the lockdown it imposed on Lagos State as a result of COVID- 19 pandemic.
George, who made the call in a statement in Lagos, yesterday said the lockdown imposed since March 29 was adversely affecting livelihoods and bringing up security challenges.
He said though government intended to curb the spread of the virus with the lockdown, the directive had left many Nigerians hungry at home without palliatives.
The PDP chieftain noted that there must be a balance between curbing the spread of the virus and protecting livelihoods and asked the government to relax the lockdown while putting safety measures in place.
“Everywhere in Lagos is now locked down. The markets, banking halls, the local grocery shops, the supermarkets, the transportation services are all halted, frozen by the federal government directives since March 29.
“On the surface level, the federal government’s position is to ensure safety, prevent communal spread of the virus and banish this scourge from our shores.
“Lagosians have been staying at home for about a month now. In a largely informal economy where most of our people depend on daily wages, the burden of lack of income is devastating.
“There is a natural growing anger in Lagos as the most vulnerable are ravaged with hunger,” George said.

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