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Senate Okays Redrafted PIGB, Tobacco Regulation Bill …Approves College Of Education For Bayelsa

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The Senate, yesterday, passed the re-drafted version of the much-anticipated Petroleum Industry Governance (PIG) Bill 2019.
The passage followed the recommendations of the technical committee set up to redraft the bill after President Muhammadu Buhari’s declined to sign the initial Bill into law.
In a communication to the Senate to that effect, Buhari had raised concerns over the implementation of the bill, if signed into law, and urged the National Assembly to consider the issues raised.
At plenary, Senate Majority Leader, Ahmed Lawan, who reintroduced the re-drafted bill, noted that the technical committee of the Senate had reworked the affected clauses according to President Buhari’s observations.
The redrafted Bill was then considered by the Committee of the Whole and passed.
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, directed the National Assembly secretariat to take note of observations and corrections made by lawmakers in the Bill.
At the plenary, the long-awaited draft of the National Tobacco Control Regulations was also passed.
The tobacco control bill, by its provisions, is to empower the Federal Ministry of Health to implement most provisions of the Tobacco Control Act which requires regulation.
Similarly, the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) bid to reintroduce the banned park-and-pay system by motorists in Abuja has finally received the backing of National Assembly.
The FCTA got the empowerment, yesterday, sequel to the passage of a bill for concurrence on the “FCT Directorate of Road Traffic Administration Service Bill, 2019” by the Senate and House of Representatives.
The Bill provides the legal force for the FCTA in collaboration with the territory’s Internal Revenue Service to embark on the overall enforcement of parking rules in the nation’s capital.
The Bill, when signed into law, before the expiration of the 8th Senate, will among others, review the parking fees and enforce the parking laws in the FCT.
The park-and-pay system became a controversial issue about five years ago before a court judgment stopped the FCTA from further collection of fees from residents for on and off the street parking within the territory.
The agency, according to the provisions of the bill, is to produce and administer vehicle and drivers’ licences in collaboration with relevant federal agencies.
The specific functions of the FCT Traffic Management Service as contained in the bill are, regulating road traffic management and motor vehicle administration within the FCT.
The agency would also regulate, register, revoke, license and renew motor vehicle documents and issuance of vehicle identification number plates in the FCT.
Similarly, it would conduct road worthiness test and issue road worthiness certificates to all categories of vehicles for the purposes of ridding the FCT of non-road worthy vehicles.
The agency would also be responsible for the training and testing of drivers to ensure competence for issuance of driver’s licence in the FCT.
It was also planned to regulate and enforce the use of bus stops and bus terminals, and the activities of the commercial motor vehicles as well as register and enforce and accredit driving schools and enforce the ban on the use of motorcycles as a means of public transport in the FCT.
The officers of the new agency, as contained in the bill, have been mandated to arrest and book any person who commits traffic offences like wrong overtaking, traffic light violation, and driving with expired documents or without driving licence.
They are also to arrest anyone that drives right-hand vehicles, drivers who exceed driving limit, drives against the traffic or obstructs traffic through illegal parking, among others.
Meanwhile, the Senate, yesterday, approved the establishment of Federal College of Education (Technical) in Aghoro, Bayelsa State.
The passage of the establishment bill followed the consideration of report of its Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, chaired by Senator Jibrin Barau at plenary.
Presenting the report, Jibrin recalled that the bill on establishment of the institution, sponsored by Senator Foster Ogola, PDP-Bayelsa West, was referred to his committee on May 30, 2018 for further legislative inputs.
According to the report, participants at a public hearing organised by the committee on March 14, this year, agreed that the college, when established, “will facilitate educational and technical development of the state, particularly in the development of middle level manpower for primary and secondary schools”.
The committee chairman also noted that “Bayelsa State does not have a Federal College of Education”, adding that its establishment would “address this challenge”.
“The establishment of the institution will assist in addressing the shortage of teachers in the country, reduce unemployment, improve the livelihood of the people and also play a vital role in human and economic development of the state.
“Also, Aghoro community is prepared to make available sufficient expanses of land to accommodate the proposed Federal College of Education, Aghoro”, Jibrin stated.
The committee, therefore, recommended the establishment of the institution by the Senate, saying this “will help in producing the desired manpower and expertise needed for the teaching profession”.
In his contribution, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC-Niger North, commended the committee for a job well done, and supported approval of the institution by the Senate in view of the importance of technical education in the country.
Unanimously, the lawmakers, in a voice vote, approved the establishment of the college.
Other institutions endorsed for establishment by the upper legislative chamber are the Federal University of Aquatic Studies, Ogbaru, Anambra State, Federal University, Uga, and School of Mines and Geological Studies, Guyuk, Adamawa State.

 

Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja

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RSG Warns Owner Of Proudest Hotel To Stop Blackmailing NCDC

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Our attention has been drawn to a recent misleading petition, signed by one Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari, Owner, Prodest Hotel and dated 24th May 2020,
to the effect that the convicted Manager of Prodest Hotel, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, who recently tested positive for Covid-19 disease amongst 27 others, in a result released by the National Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, may have allegedly been infected on the instructions of the Rivers State Government.

Much as we had restrained ourselves from responding to previous similar publications by this same person, since the subject matter was still before a court of competent jurisdiction, we are now compelled to reply this obviously  spurious, deliberately misleading and intentionally provocative petition with a proper response, to set the records straight and caution the sponsors of this action from further pedlling such falsehoods in the public space.

For the avoidance of doubt and for the information of the general public, let us state categorically here that the FACTS of this matter are very clear, viz:

 

1. A Port Harcourt Senior Magistrates’ Court on May 18th, 2020  CONVICTED Mr. Bariledum Azoro, Manager of Prodest Hotel, Eleme and sentenced him to a fine of N50,000 for contravening paragraphs  3 and 4 of Executive Order RVSG 07 2020 on closure of hotels, guest houses and related outfits  and provision of manifests in the state.

2. The Senior Magistrates’ Court also ordered that th convict,Mr. Azoroh should be quarantined at the Isolation Centre in Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Elekahia for 14 days to ascertain his coronavirus status.

3. That while in the Court Ordered Quarantine, competent health officials  carried out mandatory tests on all suspected Coronavirus individuals at the centre, including  Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, to ascertain their Covid-19 status.
It is important to state here that COVID-19 tests undergo World Health Organization, (WHO) and NCDC guidelines and are conducted under strict established medical protocols.

 

4. That prior to the publication of the test results, the owner of PRODEST Hotel Eleme, Mr. Gogorobari Needam had published one of his misleading petitions in an attempt to preempt the outcome of the test and the question we want to ask is: ‘Why did the hotel owner try to preempt the outcome of the test. Was he trying to cover up something?

5.  That on Sunday, 24th May, 2020, the NCDC announced that Rivers State had 27 recorded positive cases including  Mr.Bariledum Job Azoroh, from tests carried out in the state.

6. That following the official announcement of the result and confirmation of his Manager’s Covid-19 positive status, the PRODEST Hotel owner has once again released another statement and this time is now calling for a state of emergency in Rivers State because his manager tested positive for Covid-19.

 

7. Rivers people will recall that on May 19, 2020, we raised an alarm intimating the world of a clandestine plot by some Abuja politicians hiding under the cover of Covid-19 to instigate a State of Emergency in the state. Today, a hotel owner in Eleme, who lives in Lagos is also now calling for a State of Emergency. Is there any wonder therefore as to who is beating the drum for him?

8. Indeed there seems to be more to this than meets the ordinary eye and we are calling on all well-meaning people to see the need to interrogate this man and know that he is acting out a script. Infact, the entire petition sounds and reads like something lifted directly from the copy book of those who have been desperately trying to run down the Rivers State Government. This is desperation taken too far.

9. We even recall vividly that Mr.  Needam Promise Gogorobari had, in an interview published in the Punch Newspaper of May 15, 2020 titled: “No ill feeling towards Wike for demolishing my hotel – Gogorobari”, actually stated categorically that he holds no grudge against Governor Wike for demolishing the hotel. His words:  “Who am I not to forgive him? I don’t hold any grudge against him. I just feel that God wanted it to happen that way”. So what happened to make him change his mind? Is it not obvious that the agents of evil and those who do not mean well for Rivers State have reached him and are now beating this drum of dissent for him?

10. Again, We want to state categorically here that Government doesn’t conduct Covid-19 tests. Trained Health professionals follow the relevant medical protocols set down by WHO, the Federal Ministry of Health and the NCDC, to conduct these tests.

11. The claim therefore that the PRODEST Hotel manager, Mr. Bariledum Job Azoroh, was infected while in detention is not only laughable and preposterous, but sadly and dangerously exposes the amazing ignorance and naivety of Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari and those sponsoring him about the deadly nature of the Covid-19 disease. How does one even carry such a deadly virus around and infect people with it?

12. Rather than commend the Rivers State Government for stemming the tide of infection that would have arisen if the Hotel used for clandestine parties was not demolished and the Manager arrested, the owner is crying wolf where there is none.

13. We also want to caution Mr. Needam Promise Gogorobari to be very mindful of his claims that his hotel Manager “has been framed up by an unorthodox hired medical officers recruited by Governor Wike with a report that he has tested positive to COVID-19 whilst in detention with the Rivers State Government”.
This is a clear accusation and indictment of the reputation and authority of the NCDC.

14 We also want to call the attention of Mr. Needam Gogorobari that we take exception to his description of the Isolation Centre in Port Harcourt, as an “illegal detention facility in Stadium, Elekahia, Port Harcourt” and to inform him and his sponsors that the Director General of NCDC, Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu and a team from the World Health Organization, were in Rivers State on a working visit in April this year and not only praised Governor Nyesom Wike for his leadership and handling of the Covid-19 outbreak. but also applauded his medical health team and all the facilities put in place in response to the Coronavirus.

 

We will therefore be keen to know how the NCDC will react, when they read your description of a facility they approved, as ‘a detention centre’.

15. Finally, we want to assure the good people of the state that the Rivers State Government remains resolute in its fight to curtail the spread of COVID-19 in the state and we will not be deterred by cheap blackmail and misleading propaganda.

16 Governor Wike is determined to employ and deploy appropriate strategies to keep Rivers State safe.

17. We call on all residents to work together with the Governor to defeat Covid-19 in Rivers State and by the Grace of God we will be victorious.

Paulinus Nsirim
Commissioner for Information and Communications
May 26, 2020

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Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has felicitated with the wife of the State Chief Executive Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike as she celebrates her birthday on Saturday, 23rd May, 2020.

 

In a statement from the Government House in Port Harcourt on Friday, 23rd May 2020, Dr. Banigo described Hon. Justice Wike as a humane and God fearing woman who is a great pillar of strength to our amiable Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

 

While wishing her many happy returns the Deputy Governor prayed the Almighty God to continue to protect and bless Hon. Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom Wike.

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Former Nigeria President Jonathan Loses Foster Dad.

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The family of former Nigerian President,Goodluck Jonathan and the Otuoke community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state has been thrown into mourning as the News of the sudden demise of Chief Nitabai Inegite,the former president’s foster father reached them.

Though no official reports have reached us as to the cause of his death,The Tide learnt that the septuagenerian has been briefly ill shortly before his demise.
The former President, who visited the residence of his late foster father the early hours of Wednesday has not made any official statement regarding funeral arrangement.
Chief Inegite,popularly called ‘holy’ by his admirers and friends was initially reported to have been responding to treatment in an undisclosed health facility where his health later deteriorated before finally giving up  the ghost  at about 11:00 pm,Tuesday 19th day of May,2020.
You would recall that the late Chief Nitabai Inegite was twice reported to have been kidnapped some time between 2014 and 2016 respectively.
The late former president’s foster father was survived by his wife,biological children,grand children and numerous relatives.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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