Miffed over the exclusion of Rivers State from the Federal Government emergency funding for flood-prone states and the Paris Club refund, the state House of Assembly says it would petition the United Nations and the National Assembly over the matter.
The petition emanated from a motion raised by the Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule on the floor, yesterday, as the House deliberated on issues affecting the state.
The motion, however, was amended after debate by members, with a resolution to condemn the recall of the Paris Club refund and write the Federal Government to direct multinational companies operating in Ahoada-West to donate relief materials as part of their corporate social responsibility, among others.
The House held that there was need to cry out to the international community over deliberate plan of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to sideline Rivers State on its right to benefit from the government.
Against this backdrop, the legislators, in a unanimous vote, supported the plan to address an international press conference to let world leaders know what the state was suffering in the hands of the present Federal Government.
Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani cited the Constitution as amended in Chapter 2 while pinpointing subsections 14, 15 (4,5) as provisions in the law that flaw all actions of the Federal Government against the state.
He said, “It’s a sad commentary that the Federal Government cannot protect the people of Rivers State”.
The Speaker explained that since most parts of the state are riverine, the coastal states were prone to flooding hence special attention should be given to those areas.
The sorry state of the situation being faced by people in Ahoada-West and some parts of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas was painted by Hon. Nanaka Ogbokiri, Christian Ahiakwo and Nathaniel Uwaji.
Ogbokiri had earlier raised the motion seeking to compel multinationals to intervene in the situation, as Ahiakwo decried the exclusion of the state from the NEMA’s N3billion emergency fund.
In the words of Uwaji, “Virtually all the districts in Ndoni Kingdom are submerged. When I get back home, I feel bad because the flood does not know APC or PDP”.
The Speaker concluded that the House would not fail to do the needful, as he commended the governor for meeting up to the challenge of defending the state always.
He, however, called for urgent steps to salvage the situation, especially those being affected by the flooding.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly has screened two commissioner-nominees, Dr. Zacheaus Adango and Dr. Leloonu NwibuBasah, while committing the Rivers State College of Health Technology and Management Bill 2018 to committee stage.
Both Adango and NwibuBasah were grilled by some of the lawmakers as others sought that they be recongised and allowed to go based on their profiles.
However, after few questions, the commissioner-nominees were allowed to go, but NwibuBasah assured that he was poised to make meaningful contribution and bring his experience to bear in his new position.
Earlier, the House passed the Rivers State College of Health Technology and Management Bill 2018 for second reading, and thereafter, referred it to committee stage.
The bill, which was formally an Executive Bill, was only withdrawn and re-introduced as private member bill by Hon. Michael Chinda of Obio/Akpor Constituency earlier this year.
In his submission, Chinda said the bill was overdue considering the current state of affairs in the institution.
The Obio/Akpor 11 Constituency legislator said the school has over the years lost so much compared to other colleges of similar status, as both staff and students do not enjoy grants, scholarships and support from the Tertiary Education Fund (TEF).
If the bill is passed, Chinda maintained, the remuneration and staff welfare, including retirement benefits, would be upgraded.
The Speaker while commending the efforts of Chinda and other House members towards upgrading the school, relied on the House Order, as it committed the bill to Committee Stage.
In his ruling, Ibani directed that the House Committee on Education to conduct a public hearing within 14 working days, stressing that most part of the bill was on education.
The committee is expected to submit its report after the public hearing for more deliberations by the House.
Kevin Nengia & Idaminabo Shammah
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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