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DSS Arrests 59 Sex Workers In Calabar

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No fewer than 59 commercial sex workers have been arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) in Calabar, Cross Rivers State.
Director of the DSS Command in the state, Mr Ilupeju Adebayo, who disclosed this to newsmen at the weekend in Calabar, said those arrested were picked up around 2:15am last Saturday.
Those arrested, made up of 43 girls and 16 men, were picked up at the Peace Garden Hotel and Papsi Place, located along the Murtala Mohammed highway in Calabar, Adebayo said.
Adebayo revealed that there was a cartel responsible for luring the girls and making them to swear to an oath of secrecy.
The oath involves a promise not to abscond no matter what or divulge information about the business.
“We got an intelligence report and swung into action. We have been on the matter for months. We discovered that the girls are mostly underage, mostly between the ages of 13, 15, and 19 years of age.
“We also know that they were brought in by a cartel, deeply involved in the business of trafficking and using the girls as commercial sex workers. The girls then bring returns to them at the beginning or close of the week, depending on their modus operandi.
“We have made some arrests including that of the owner of Papsi Place, a brothel that houses mostly underage girls who pay him N2,000 on week days and N4,000 at weekends as lodging fees,” he stated.
The DSS Director said the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been contacted while investigations are ongoing until all those involved in the illicit trade are arrested and charged to court.
While speaking to journalists, Adaeze Abam, one of the 43 girls, said she was brought to Calabar from Rivers State under the guise of being given a sales girl job.
“I was brought to Calabar through a friend who told me that I will be given a job as a sales girl. She took me to a lady who I only know her name as Aunty Favour.
“They took me to a brothel at Atamu Street, Calabar South, from where I used to attend night clubs.
“I ran away and then they traced me and brought me back. They wanted to force me to take an oath but I objected and absconded again to meet my friend whom I came with to Calabar then,” Abam said.
She further shared that, “Aunty Favour came there with the boyfriend and some cult boys and beat me up, and told me that if I run again they will kill me or I will die.
“So, I usually go to her house to make returns to her every week. But I am not happy with the kind of work I am doing.
“It was never my intention to do this, because my friend did not tell me that it was this kind of job.”
Mr Edem John, one of the 16 men in custody and owner of Papsi Place, denied any wrong doing.
He claimed that he had been warning the underage girls not to come to his place for commercial sex.

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Bayelsa Set To Inaugurate Environment Vanguard

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The Bayelsa State Government is set to establish a new body charged with the responsibility of protecting the environment from degradation and other environment related causes.
This was made known to newsmen, Tuesday during the celebration of the 2021World Environment Day by the state government in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Tide gathered that the United Nations had declared 5th June every year as World Environment Day, necessitating the Bayelsa State government to commemorate the 2021 Environment Day Tuesday, 15 June, 2021 following other activities which had earlier caused its postponement penultimate week by the state government.
Giving approvals to demands made by the State Commissioner for Environment, Iselema Gbaranbiri, as contained in his welcome address for the occasion, the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, restated government’s commitment towards protecting the state’s ecosystems and all matters relating to the environment within the available resources of the state.
Diri noted that following his willingness to promote policies and make decisions aimed at protecting the state’s Ecosystems from further degradation, the state government recently had made approvals for the shore protection work of Obogoro community in the Yenagoa council area of the state.
He promised to do same subsequently for other affected communities of the state, assuring that government would soon work on an executive bill to set up the state ‘Environment Vanguard’.
“The prosperity government shall soon work on a legislation to set up the state Environment Vanguard”, he said.
“This vanguard, when established would work with the ministry of environment and other relevant stakeholders in the environment sector to protect our Ecosystems and environment from continuous degradation”, he added.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Commissioner for Environment, Honourable Gbaranbiri, has said the ministry of environment intends to deal decisively with those who were in the habit of flagrantly disrespecting nvironmental safety rules and guidelines in the state.
Gbaranbiri cautioned people to desist forthwith from ecosystem and unfriendly environmental phenomena, just as he stated that the ministry of environment had recently apprehended some persons,(names withheld) whom he said were involved in some unfriendly activities on the environment.
He commended Governor Diri for making funds available to the ministry for the execution of various environmental functions, pleading that the governor shore up the financial provisions made available to the ministry due to rising environmental challenges.
“ I commend the executive governor, his excellency, Governor Douye Diri, for making funds available for the ministry of environment, for the execution of its functions and programmes. But I also want to plead that you increase the funding coming to the ministry, because of the increasing environmental challenges”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the theme of the 2021 world Environment Day was tagged: ‘Join the Campaign to Restore our Ecosystem’
Similarly, guest lecturer for the occasion and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Niger Delta University, professor, Ibaba, S. Ibaba has called on government to implement guidelines and rules governing the environment to the letter, noting that the lack of political will by state actors in managing the environment was the bane of a clean, healthy and safe environment for all.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Balyesa, United Nigeria Airline Sign MoU On Flight Operations

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The United Nigeria Airline has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bayelsa State Government for the commencement of direct scheduled flight operations into and out of Bayelsa International Airport.
The Head, Corporate Communications, Mr Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, confirmed the agreement in a statement in Lagos yesterday.
Uchegbu explained that according to the terms of the agreement, United Nigeria would operate four daily flights in and out of the airport.
“United Nigeria will service the Bayelsa International Airport daily from the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MM2) in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“With the MoU, the airline will commence direct flight operations to Bayelsa International Airport in July,” he said.
Uchegbu said that the MoU was signed in the presence of Gov. Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State and the state’s executive council.
Speaking, Diri noted that with the signing of the MoU, Bayelsans would begin to reap the benefits of the government’s investment in infrastructure.
The governor said that the venture would open Bayelsa, the resource base of Nigeria to the world.
Diri said the airline was chosen as partner because of its quality of service and efficiency.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), United Nigeria Airline, Mr Osita Okonkwo, thanked the government and people of the state for choosing it.
He gave assurance that the airline would continue to offer the quality service that the airline was known for.

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Groups Alert On Rising Cases Of Gender-Based Violence In C’River

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The Cross River State Government, has raised alarm against the rising cases of gender-based violence including rape and sexual assaults in the State
To this end, the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) as well as Girls Power Initiative have raised an alarm to the effect that cases of rape have rather increased in the State.
In a chat with newsmen in Calabar, FIDA Chairman in the state, Ann Alorye Awah, said they received reports of young girls being raped daily in the state.
She said the issue of wife’s battery is equally rampant as well as children abandonment.
She stated that they were following up on all the reports and did not encourage attempts by interested persons to stop them.
The FIDA boss however said that it was only funds and occasional withdrawal by survivors or their parents that dissuaded them.
According to her, they have secured four convictions yet in 2021.
In her contribution, the Director of Social Welfare in the state Ministry of Social Welfare and Humanitarian Affairs, Ms Elizabeth Uquak, said there were 1,026 cases of rape and gender-based violence in three local government areas of the state, namely, Akamkpa, Calabar South and Calabar Municipality.
“Between January to May this year, there are yet 395 rape cases which we are handling. As it looks,, more will still come in as we have not received reports from many other local government areas.”
Apparently, corroborating her statement, Head of Monitoring and Evaluation in the State General Hospital, Mrs Stella Asuquo Bassey said within one year, they had handled 89 rape and assault cases.

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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