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Easter: Bloodletting Getting Out Of Hand -Cleric …As Gunmen Kidnap Eight Women, One Other In Niger

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The Anglican Bishop of Awka Diocese, Rt Rev. Alexander Ibezim, has reminded government, both at the federal and state levels that they owe Nigerians the duty of protecting their lives and properties.
The bishop said this during his Easter sermon, in the Anambra State capital, yesterday.
Ibezim, who was making reference to news of countless killings, both by Boko Haram insurgents and armed bandits masquerading as Fulani herdsmen, said that the level of bloodletting in the country was getting out of hand.
He said urgent steps needed to be taken by both the state governors and President Muhammadu Buhari to stop the reckless killings in Nigeria, insisting that Nigeria leaders would account for every single drop of blood spilled, as God would seek vengeance.
Ibezim said, “Blood of human beings is sacred and was not created by God to be wasted like fowls as done daily in Nigeria”.
However, the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu Uche, and the Archbishop of Lagos, Dr. Isaac Ayobami Olawuyi, in their Easter messages, passionately pleaded with Nigerians and the Christian community, to be extremely tolerant, loving and accommodating in order to alleviate the suffering and the challenges of others in a bid to making life peaceful and constructively better for the society.
Using Jesus Christ as an example, especially His death on the Cross, which they respectively pointed was an extreme sacrifice to mankind, the clerics charged the leaders in authority to be role models through their sacrificial service, rather than lining their pockets with the fruits of corruption, which has resulted in obsolete socio-economic infrastructure and the incessant insecurity that has enveloped the nation.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Lafia Diocese in Nasarawa State, Most Rev. Matthew Audu, has called on Christians to strive to save lives and not join in destroying them.
The bishop made the call in an interview with newsmen, yesterday, in Lafia, after celebrating the Easter mass.
He said that the call was imperative given the rate at which some Nigerians were taking the lives of fellow human beings.
Audu said that nobody had the right to take the life of another.
According to him, people should make sacrifice for people who are in need just as Jesus Christ did for the salvation of mankind.
The cleric said that there was need for Christians to make sacrifices for people who were in need just as Christ died for the salvation of mankind.
The bishop noted that insecurity in the country called for serious prayers for God’s intervention.
He, therefore, admonished perpetrators of criminality in the country to desist or face the wrath of God.
Similarly, a missionary with the Kuje Zonal Headquarters of Foursquare Gospel Church, Pastor Isaac Tejabo, has said that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a manifestation of the prophecy of God.
Tejabo said this, yesterday in Kuje during a sermon titled “the Stone is Rolled Away” to mark the Easter celebration.
He said that the rolling of stone on the grave was to prevent the body of Christ from being taken away after being buried.
The cleric said the stone was an attempt by man to frustrate the purpose of God after an earlier prophecy that He would rise again after death.
According to him, the stone represents man’s inadequate understanding of the power of God and the fact that God has the final say in the affairs of men.
He, therefore, urged Christians to always seek for the face of God in times of trouble and learn not to rely on self wisdom.
“They rolled the stone on the grave to stop His resurrection, thinking they are wiser than God, but when the time came, it was rolled away and Jesus resurrected.
“The stone was not only rolled away, it was recorded that an angel sat on it, waiting for the manifestation of the prophecy of God.
“The hope of Christians today is that Jesus resurrected. We must learn to trust in God, allow Him to prevail in our situations and stop the use of human strength,” he said.
The cleric said the resurrection of Christ was a clear demonstration of the fact that nobody could stop God when it was time for him to act.
He, therefore, urged Christians to be patient, adding that no time was late for God, as His time is not the time of man.
Meanwhile, gunmen have kidnapped eight women and a man in their residence in Kuchi community in Munya Local Government Area of Niger State.
A community leader, Alhaji Salisu Afakallah, told newsmen, in Minna, yesterday, that the abducted women were nursing mothers and wives of his younger brothers, while the man is a cousin.
According to him, the gunmen, who he said were many, had forced the gate of the family house open at about 11:30pm, and rounded up everyone in the house.
Afakallah said some of the family members had assembled for a wedding nearby, adding that the assailants took advantage of the ceremony to carry out the raid.
He said the gunmen had lined up the women during the attack, while also shooting two male relations who, according to him, were currently receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital in the LGA.
The assailants, he also explained, killed a villager they encountered on the way out of the community after the raid.
“They called on Friday to demand for N800million ransom as condition for releasing those abducted,” he told our source in a telephone interview.
Afakallah said the family has no means of raising the amount demanded by the abductors, noting that “all our efforts to beat down the amount have proved abortive”.
According to him, the concern of the family members and the entire community was the little children in captivity.
“Some of the children are barely two months old, we don’t know the situation which they are in, and we are very worried,” he lamented.
Afakallah said although the combined team of military and police personnel were deployed to the area, last Friday, no appreciable progress has been made in the rescue mission so far.
He appealed to the Niger State Government to intervene by ensuring the release of those in captivity as there was no way the family members can raise the ransom money demanded by the gunmen.
The Acting Chairman of the council, Mr Joshua Musa, confirmed the development but said security operatives were on top of the situation.
He said from the security reports available to him, all the abducted persons were women, while one person was shot during the attack.
The state Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Abubakar Dan-Inna, said he was yet to be briefed of the development, while promising to reach out when he gets the details.
However, a yet to be ascertained number of persons travelling in five different vehicles are feared missing after they were reportedly abducted by gunmen along the Birnin Gwari – Kaduna Road at about 5:00pm, last Saturday.
The gunmen were said to have stopped the vehicles at different times between 4pm and 5pm, at a point near Ladi village, and led all the passengers and drivers into the bush.
A resident of Birnin Gwari, who gave his name as Salihu, said the five vehicles, two Golf cars, two Toyota Salon and a Sienna van, were parked by the road around Ladi village.
“We are not certain how many people were in the cars but since they are mainly commercial vehicles, we assume they must contain no less than four people each,” he said.
The Kaduna State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo, when contacted, said the police were yet to receive the report but added that he “will find out if it is true.”
It would be recalled that the Birnin Gwari – Kaduna road has been terrorised by armed bandits for long but criminal activities on the route went down for some time only for it to resume in the last one week.

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RIVERS Approves Review Of 2020 Budget

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The Rivers State Executive Council has approved the review of the 2020 Budget in line with the present economic realities occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic.
Accordingly, the State’s 2020 Budget has been reviewed by 48 percent from N530,813,357,619.00 Billion to N300,370,071,183.00 Billion.
The State Commissioner for Finance and Supervisory Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Isaac Kamalu announced on Wednesday, while briefing journalists after the State Executive Council Meeting presided over by the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Mr. Kamalu stated that the State Executive Council also gave approval for the review of the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework, accommodating a downsizing of the budget, pointing out that the decision was taken in consideration of all necessary parameters geared towards offering the state purposeful service and effective leadership.
Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Transport, Mr. Sunny Ejekwu said the State Executive Council also approved a Free Bus Scheme with a fleet of 28 Luxury Buses to convey commuters free of charge during this COVID-19 period.
He said the Scheme which would start from Monday, June 1,2020 is part of measures introduced by government to ameliorate the sufferings faced by those living and doing business in the state.
Mr. Ejekwu announced that the Free Buses would convey commuters in Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt, Eleme and Oyigbo Local Government Areas.
The Commissioner also stated that wearing of facemasks would be a compulsory requirement for any commuter who would want to enjoy the free service.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Paulinus Nsirim announced the setting up of an Executive Council Committee to work out modalities that would outline conditions that would be met by those who intend to bury their loved ones  during this period.
According to him, the Committee is headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo while the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zaccheus Adangor, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Thomas Bariere, Commissioner for Youths, Mr.Prince Ohia and the Special Adviser to the Governor on Special Projects, Mr Dax Kelly are to serve as members.
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COVID-19 Decisions Are Taken By State Security Council – Governor Wike

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has stated that the State Security Council takes all decisions  in  the prosecution of the COVID-19 pandemic in the State.

Governor Wike who stated this on Tuesday when the Executive of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Rivers State Chapter paid him a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt pointed out that he has never taken any unilateral decision.

The State Chief Executive noted that all decisions taken by the State Government are for the overall good and interest of the Rivers people as no right thinking government would deliberately take decisions that would negatively affect the lives of the people.

 

“I don’t take decisions alone in the fight against COVID-19. All decisions are taken  by the State Security Council and they are for the overall interest of Rivers people.

” You know people applaud government decisions when it  suits them but when it does not favour them they say it is  politically motivated.

“Rivers State Government does not have anything against hoteliers in the state, but decided to shutdown their activities because some cases of  COVID-19 were recorded in hotels,” he stated.

Governor Wike also blamed the hoteliers for failing to assist government in providing relevant information regarding those that test positive of the coronavirus in their hotels.

According to him, adequate information would have helped  the State Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to carry out proper contact tracing.

“Its not possible that the State Government will intentionally close down hotels. But what I see is that people play politics with everything.

“The  demolition of Prodest Hotel and Etemeteh Hotel in Eleme Local Government Area by the State Government became necessary because the owners failed to comply with  Executive Order 7,” he said.

 

The State Chief Executive stated that he is more pained than any other person in the state that churches and mosques are not holding their full religious activities because of COVID-19.

“I can’t believe that I will be sitting here as a Governor and take a painful decision that will make  churches and mosques not to hold full religious activities, ” he said.

The Governor lauded members of the State Chapter of Nigeria Hotel Association for identifying with government efforts in the fight against COVID- 19.

 

Earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Hotel Association, Mr. Eugene Nwauzi commended Governor Wike for leading the fight against coronavirus in the country.

Mr. Nwauzi noted that but for the efforts put in place by the Governor, the spread of COVID-19 would have taken a dangerous dimension in the state.

He however appealed to the State Government to  relax the ban on hotel businesses, assuring that all protocols put in place for the containment of the spread of the virus would be fully observed by hoteliers.
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RSG Cancels Lockdown Of Obio/Akpor, Port Harcourt Local Government

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? Imposes state-wide curfew 8p.m to 6a.m from June 2, 2020 till further notice
? Uncovers plan by one Bobosky to instigate violence in 6 LGAs
? Investigating alleged outbreak of coronavirus in Bonny LGA

Rivers State Government has cancelled the proposed lockdown of Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas scheduled to resume tomorrow.

Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this in a state-wide broadcast also announced the imposition of 8p.m to 6am curfew in the 23 Local Government Areas of the State with effect from June 2,2020 till further notice.

The Governor also revealed that government has uncovered plans by some criminal elements led by one Bobosky to cause security breaches in Khana, Eleme,Gokana, Tai, Oyigbo and Ikwerre Local Government Areas.

“After a comprehensive review of the measures taken and further considerations placed before us by well-meaning members of the public, the State Security Council has decided to cancel the proposed lockdown on Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas of the State.

“In essence, no part of Rivers State is or will be under any lockdown from this moment and this will be so, except where it becomes necessary again.

“As we all know, the regular washing of hands, religious wearing of face masks, keeping effective physical and social distance of between 1.5 to 2 meters from other people, completely avoiding touching of faces with unwashed hands, and cleaning of surfaces we regularly touch have been identified as some of the most effective measures against contracting this virus in the absence of vaccine, ” he said.

 

According to the Governor, government would re-enforce the decisions on the continuous implementation of the following measures throughout the State:

(i) All land borders, including all exit and entry routes into Rivers State shall remain closed to human and vehicular traffic, except those on essential services and duly exempted.

(ii) All residents must wear face masks or covering into any public space, including our roads, banks, shopping malls, shops, hotels and in any lawful social gathering.

(iii) The State task force and the security agencies have been directed to arrest and summarily prosecute any person seen on our streets or any other public place without wearing face masks.

(iv) All banks, motor parks, hotels, restaurants, shops, business centres, shopping malls, and offices must maintain social distancing and enforce the wearing of face masks in their premises.

 

(v) The State task force and security agencies have been directed to seal up, prosecute and confiscate to the State any bank, shopping mall, restaurant, shop, business place or office that fails to enforce social distancing and the wearing of face masks in its premises.

(vi) In addition to providing daily guest list to the Police and the Department of State Security, hoteliers must not host large gatherings, including parties and receptions. Defaulting hotels will be sealed-up and the owners summarily prosecuted.

(vii) All bars, beer palours, or drinking joints, night-clubs, viewing centres, open markets and cinemas shall remain closed until further notice;

(viii) Oil mill market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall remain closed until further notice;

(ix) Oginigba Slaughter market in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area shall similarly remain closed until further notice.

 

(x) Mbiama market in Ahoada West Local Government Area shall also remain closed until further notice;

(xi) All public weddings, burials and large social gatherings shall remain banned.

(xii) Churches and other religious gatherings should continue to comply with the existing advisory on social distancing, initiate temperature checks and enforce the wearing of face masks during their activities;

(xiii) Dealers in Ikoku Spare Parts markets are warned for the last time to stop converting public roads to mechanic workshops or risk final closure.

(xiv) Similarly, no mechanic workshop should be found along Ikwerre road as Government will prosecute defaulters and confiscate any vehicle being repaired on any public road.

(xv) Private and commercial vehicles, including tricycles must continue to limit their passengers to the number earlier established and enforce the wearing of face masks by all passengers. Defaulters will be prosecuted and their vehicles confiscated by the Task force.

These measures, he said, are in the best interest of our State, to protect our lives, businesses, and jobs as well as, to prevent our troubled economy from suffering irreparable damage.

“This also means that, residents now bear much greater responsibility to stop and prevent our State from suffering the exponential and potentially devastating spread of the virus being experienced across the

“As 60% of the positive cases recorded in the State are connected with oil company workers, we have initiated a meeting with all the major oil companies to work out strategies on how we can stop this trend and stop the risk this category of workers now pose to the State.

“Government is also investigating the rumored or suspected outbreak of the coronavirus at Bonny Island.

 

“Our team of medical personnel led by the Commissioner for Health has visited Bonny Island and collected samples from suspected cases for analysis and immediate intervention should the results indicate the outbreak of the virus in the area, “the governor said.

The State Chief Executive also revealed that intelligence has intercepted a clandestine plan by some criminal elements led by Bobosky to cause security breaches in the State by instigating violence and burning down churches in Khana, Eleme, Gokana, Tai and Oyigbo Local Government Areas of the State.

He  assured all residents that the State Government is fully ready and prepared to deal with the situation and continue to guarantee the protection of lives and property throughout the State.

The Governor implored all residents to be vigilant and report all suspicious characters and movements in their neighbourhoods to security agencies.

 

“Leaders and vigilante groups in our communities are to work with the security agencies to enforce  curfew in their localities and arrest and prosecute anyone that violates the curfew order.

“We urge our people to stop the fake news on social media; stop the baseless bickering, the needless blame game, and the seditious rumours that does no good to our image or provide any solution to the common challenges that we face.

“Rather, we should all come together, put our fate in our own hands and work for the common good of all, whether as individuals, families or as communities,” he stated.

The Governor commended all health workers who have continued to put their lives at risk in the forefront in the battle against  COVID-19.

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