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Radio For Fulani Herdsmen: Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Blast FG …Says Move Shocking, Unacceptable …Militants Threaten To Declare N’Delta Republic, June

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The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum has opposed the plan by the Federal Government to set up a radio station for herdsmen.
A statement, yesterday, signed by Yinka Odumakin (South-West), Senator Bassey Henshaw (South-South), Dr. Isuwa Dogo (Middle-Belt) and Prof Chigozie Ogbu (South-East) said it received the news with rude shock.
It said the announcement came at a time the Federal Government had been acting as the information arm of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen by dicing the correct interpretation of the groups’ activities by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as an attempt to “Fulanise” Nigeria.
“We totally reject this insensitive decision of the government on the following fundamental grounds:
“It smacks of hypocrisy and deception for a government that has in the last four years denied responsibility on behalf of the Fulani herdsmen for crimes they even owned up to, to now tell us it wants to set up a radio for them to address the same issues.
“Section 55 of the 1999 Constitution recognises English, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo as Languages in which the official business of the National Assembly can be conducted. There was no mention of Fulani which is not a language most northerners even understand.
“Why its sudden promotion to a language the Federal Government will set up a radio to promote? Will it also set up radio stations for the officially recognised languages and the over 250 languages spoken in different parts of Nigeria?
“We fear seriously that the proposed radio will become a weapon of spreading hate propaganda against other nationalities in Nigeria given the kid gloves treatment with which the Buhari administration has handled the killings of thousands of Nigerians in the last four years.
“We are guided the genocide-aiding role radio played in inciting ordinary citizens to take part in the massacre of Tutsis and moderate Hutus during the Rwandan Genocide. From 1993 to late 1994, RTLM was used by Hutu leaders to propagate an extremist Hutu message and anti-Tusti disinformation by identifying specific targets and areas where they could be found and encouraging progress of the genocide.
An estimated 7,000 Nigerians died between 2015 and 2019 in the persistent violence between farmers and pastoralists in the middle belt states of Benue and Nasarawa, a report funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said.
Titled ”Engaging Communities for Peace in Nigeria (ECPN),” the report also said the violence has cost the Nigerian economy $13 billion a year over the past five years.
An international non-governmental organisation, Mercy Corps, conducted the study across the states and wrote the report.
The group said the study was aimed at preventing violent conflict between farmer and herders in the middle belt states. The report was presented at Bon Elvis Hotels yesterday in Abuja.
The presentation was witnessed by the paramount ruler of the Tiv, Tor Tiv James Ayatse; the Country Director, Mercy Corps, Darius Radcliffe; USAID Mission Director, Stephen Haykin, represented by USAID country Democracy Officer, Beatrice Reaud , and other community leaders from Benue and Nasarawa states.
The report said a programme of interventions in the middle belt states by Mercy Corps had helped to reduce conflict in the area by 13 per cent.
The report said trained participants in the programme succeeded in resolving1932 inter and the intra-community disputes.
According to the report, over 600 disputes over grazing routes, seasonal access to water points, crop damage, cutting down of economic trees, water pollution by animals, and commerce were addressed peacefully in the communities where ECPN worked.
“Peace and reconciliation lie at the heart of USAID’s global approach to promoting stability and security in conflict-affected areas,” Mrs Reaud, said at the closing event.
“The United States and Nigeria share the objective of reducing violence in the Middle Belt states by peacefully preventing and resolving farmer-pastoralist conflicts.
“We must look beyond the help that Mercy Corps through USAID has given us,” she said.
“We are grateful for the assistance, but [its ideas] must be repackaged an implemented under another name.
“If we don’t change our ways, these problems will continue to hurt us, and it is the poor and downtrodden who suffer most. If you engage in fighting, even if you win, you lose something.”
“In 1994, Rwanda Radio began to advance the same message by issuing directives on where to kill Tutsis and congratulating those who had already taken part.
“Using the instrumentality of the Federal Government to set up a radio for Fulani herdsmen will throw a knife at the tiniest of the threads still holding Nigeria together as all illusions of an inclusive country would be removed and the rest of the country would conclude we are now under Fulani Government of Nigeria.
“We, therefore, demand that the Federal Government should perish the thought of a Fulani radio sponsored by government if it cares in any form about the corporate existence of the country,” they said.
Meanwhile, a militant group, Network of Niger Delta Republic Fighters, has threatened to declare a Niger Delta Republic on June 1, 2019.
In a statement, the group said they were not happy with the situation in Nigeria.
The statement by the Director of Information of the group, Maxwell Dan, alleged selective maltreatment of the people of the region by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
It listed police invasion of the residence of a Niger Delta leader, Chief Edwin Clark, last year, and current ordeal of the ex-Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, as part of the selective maltreatment of Niger Delta people.
The statement read, “It is quite unfortunate that the story has not changed till today, and we are standing on that declaration; we are standing on the declaration of the sovereign state of Niger Delta, and we will declare Niger Delta Republic on June 1, 2019.
“It is a common fact that Nigeria has completely derailed from the path of peace, justice and progress as proclaimed by its founding fathers.”
It added, “As that could not pay off, they removed a Niger Delta son, Mr Mathew Seiyeifa, the most qualified director of DSS without any due process. Not satisfied with his cruel and selective onslaught against the Niger Delta people, they plotted again and removed our son, Justice Walter Onnoghen from office on frivolous allegations without following due process, neither was he given an opportunity of fair hearing.
“It is also unfortunate that after four years of this administration, there is no single viable project executed by the Federal Government in Niger Delta despite the billions of Naira accruing to the government from the resources of the Niger Delta as a result of the ceasefire in the region.”
The group also decried killings in the country; lamenting that government had not been able to protect its citizens.

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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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