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Wike Tackles Insecurity In Ogoni …Inspects 2nd Term Inauguration Venue …Abe Lauds Gov On Peace Initiative …RSG Withdraws Charge Against Lloyd

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that his administration is working with security agencies to tackle rising insecurity and cultism in Ogoniland.
Addressing Ogoni Political Leaders, Traditional Rulers and Youth Groups, yesterday, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Wike said the government was deploying all necessary machinery to restore peace in the troubled area.
He said: “All of the persons involved in cultism are known by the community leaders. We are coming after them to restore peace to Ogoni communities.
“This time, no effort will be spared. Attention is on the Ogoni area to check the rising insecurity. All through yesterday, the State Security Council met, and resolved on the best way to tackle the cultists”.
The governor charged community leaders to also work out modalities to tackle cultism, saying that the state government would give them full support to achieve desired results.
He warned against the illegal removal of government-recognised chiefs by unauthorised persons, saying that such illegal actions lead to conflicts that degenerate into insecurity.
He regretted the situation in Eleme where a government-recognised traditional ruler was illegally removed by some unauthorised persons.
Wike said that the state government was taking measures to reach out to traditional rulers who were not recognised by government, so that they can contribute to the promotion of security in their respective communities.
The governor, however, noted that part of the problem in Ogoniland was the planned resumption of oil production.
He said that he has received a letter from the National Security Adviser on the commencement of production at OML 11, and noted that he was not duly informed on the process.
Wike added that going forward, the state government and Ogoni people should be carried along on the OML 11 issue, saying that dialogue would yield better results.
He said: “I got a letter from the National Security Adviser. Part of the problem is OML 11. I have written back to them, and said you did not inform me when you were going there. If you want to go into a community, tell me as a governor. But even if there will be, we need to sit down and resolve issues.
“I have told the Federal Government that they cannot use force in doing everything. We need to sit down and resolve issues. As a government, we are losing revenue no doubt, but the people must be involved so that everyone is part of what is happening. I will not support anything that will make Ogoni people not to benefit from their resources. I will not do anything to betray the people who have given me their mandate. I will never do that”.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Usman Belel urged the people to support the security agencies to fight insecurity, and called for confidential information to help the security agencies track down cultists in the area.
He said cultism was not a way of life, but a criminal action that would be checked by the security agencies.
Chairman of the Supreme Ogoni Council of Chiefs, King Godwin Giniwa assured the Rivers State governor that Ogoni people would support his drive to promote peace and security in the area.
Meanwhile, ahead of activities to herald his swearing in for a second term, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, inspected the venue for the State Thanksgiving Service.
The governor, who was accompanied by the Senator-elect, Dr Sandy Onoh (Cross River Central) moved round the Yakubu Gowon Stadium where officials were getting the facility ready for the historic event.
Wike later inspected the Obi Wali Cultural Centre, which will host the State Variety Night.
At the Real Madrid Football Academy, Wike was impressed with the level of work.
The academy is almost ready for commissioning.
Meanwhile, the Senator representing Rivers South East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe has commended Governor Nyesom Wike for his call on all opposition political parties and politicians to work with his administration for the sake of peace and security in the state.
Abe, who made the commendation during a stakeholders’ meeting of his faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Bera, Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State, stated that from the governor’s recent statements and actions, he believes that the state chief executive was sincere with the Olive branch he offered to opposition parties.
According to him, “From what I have seen of the governor, from the things that he has said and from the actions he has taken, I want to give him the benefit of doubt. I believe that he is sincere, and I think that all sincere Rivers men and women should also make whatever sacrifice and contribution that they can make to help us get this state back on track.
“This is not about politics. It is not about who lost and who won. It is about how we can make it possible for the ordinary Rivers man or woman to be able to survive and go about their businesses without fear in this state,” Abe explained.
He called on all Rivers people to support the state government in returning peace and security in Rivers State; just as he admonished APC members in the state to join hands in rebuilding the party’s structure so that everyone can benefit.
Abe stated further, “I am prepared to make any sacrifice and do anything that will contribute to rebuilding the APC properly in a manner that respects the rights and the obligations, commitments and support of party members across the state.”
Abe also thanked them for ‘their steadfast’ support to the party and for their determination and commitment to the party, which he said, contributed to the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last general election.
Also, the Rivers State Government has withdrawn one of the three charges bordering on malicious destruction of public property brought against the former leader of the state House of Assembly and a chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Chidi Lloyd.
This followed an application ‘nolli prosecue’ brought before a state High Court, presided over by Justice Chinwendu Nworgu, yesterday, to withdraw from the continued prosecution of the matter by the state government.
The counsel to the state government, Mr Adeyemi Damilare told the court that the state government was no longer interested in continuing with the prosecution, and urged the judge to strike out the matter.
He told the court that the state government, through the attorney general of the state, has the right to withdraw from any prosecution on behalf of the state when the need arises.
Counsel to the accused, Mr Azundah Onyekwere, did not oppose the application to withdraw from the case.
Ruling on the matter, the trial judge, Justice Chinwendu Nworgu struck out the matter as requested by the state government.
In an interview with newsmen outside the court room, counsel to Chidi Lloyd, averred that even though the court has struck out the matter, they were worried that the state government might resurrect the matter later.
According to him, “this is the fourth time the state government was entering ‘nolli prosecue’ against Chidi Lloyd and later came up with the matter again”, and appealed that the matter should no longer be resurrected under any guise.
It would be recalled that the state government had recently withdrawn murder charges against the embattled factional state chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Ojukaye Flag-Amachree as part of efforts to promote genuine reconciliation and peace in the state.

 

Akujobi Amadi & Dennis Naku

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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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