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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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2019 Rivers Guber Poll Tribunal: PDP Tenders Polling Units’ Results To Affirm Wike’s Victory …Election Held In Substantial Compliance With Electoral Act -Counsel …Conduct Of Poll Peaceful, Lawful, Akawor Affirms

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, yesterday, tendered strategic polling units’ results from different local government areas to the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal to justify the re-election of Governor Nyesom Wike.
The polling units’ results were tendered in respect of the petition filed against the election of Wike by the Governorship Candidate of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi.
Tendering the polling units’ results from the Bar, counsel to the PDP, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) said the polling results were from 356 polling units.
Obla told the tribunal that the result sheets were from some of the polling units in Obio/Akpor, Khana, Ogu/Bolo, Bonny, Akuku-Toru, Ahoada East, Opobo/Nkoro and others.
He informed the tribunal that the PDP resolved to tender results to prove that elections held across the state at the polling units and declarations made under very peaceful atmosphere.
The counsel added that since INEC and Wike have called witnesses to prove that the Governorship Election was conducted in line with the Electoral Act, the PDP chose to prove the conduct of the elections through documentary evidence.
Addressing journalists after closing the PDP defence, Godwin Obla said that from documentary evidence and oral testimonies of witnesses, it was clear that the 2019 Governorship Election in Rivers State was held in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act and that Wike emerged victorious.
He said: “This morning on behalf of the 3rd respondent, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), we tendered a total of 356 exhibits in support of our case. We feel satisfied that the requirements of the law required of us, have been fully met and that is why we decided to close our case today.
“Don’t forget that the 1st respondent, INEC, called witnesses, the 2nd respondent, Governor Nyesom Wike, who is the candidate of the 3rd respondent, PDP, also called witnesses and tendered a lot of documents that relate to this same subject matter. The interests of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents are actually the same”.
Also speaking, counsel to ADP, Mr Dolapo-Telle Attoni, said “The PDP presented from the Bar a bundle of electoral documents they claimed INEC used in conducting the governorship election. They tendered about 356 alleged polling units’ results. We had asked for few minutes to study these same documents, and also obtain Certified True Copy of the said documents which was not complied with by INEC”.
Following the PDP closing its case, the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal has adjourned till September 16, 2019 for the adoption of addresses by parties in the petition filed by Action Democratic Party and its governorship candidate, Mr Victor Fingesi.
Earlier, the Director-General of Rivers State PDP Campaign Council, Amb. Desmond Akawor, had said that the 2019 Governorship Election held throughout the state with Governor Nyesom Wike emerging victorious.
Testifying at the Rivers State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal, last Wednesday, as the last witness for Wike in a petition filed by the candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Victor Fingesi, Akawor said that the governor won the election by the lawful votes cast on March 9, 2019.
The former Nigerian Ambassador to South Korea told the tribunal that he received his party’s duplicate certified copies of election result sheets for all the units, wards and the 23 local government areas.
Responding to a question by counsel to the ADP governorship candidate on why the state government set up a Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the 2019 Elections, Akawor said that the commission of inquiry was established to find out what happened at the collation centres, because voting took place peacefully at all polling units.
However, after closing his case on cross-examination of DW31 (Akawor), the ADP counsel sought to tender an application which is a certified copy of The Tide Newspaper of April 29 in respect of the commission of inquiry.
But Counsel to the governor, Emmanuel Ukala (SAN) urged the court to refuse the application, arguing that the petitioner voluntarily closed his matter on July 16 with 23 witnesses.
Ukala noted that in accordance with the rules of the tribunal, each witness was cross-examined within the time given; adding that conduct of proceedings was guided by truth and not by sympathy.
Ruling on the application after hearing arguments from the counsels, Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Orjiako, stated that “this application in our view cannot be allowed, the implication being that it should have been tendered within the time allocated to him, therefore, the application is overruled and refused”.
Justice Orjiako had adjourned the matter till yesterday for further cross examination.
In an interview, counsel for Governor Nyesom Wike, Emmanuel Ukala, explained that the ADP application was refused as a result of improper filing.
He said, “The 2nd respondent (Governor Wike) called all together 20 witnesses, and we closed our case. So, it is left to the PDP, if they wish to call any other witness. They may call, and thereafter, we will all address the court”.

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Stop Deducting Money From Rivers Statutory Allocation, Court Orders FG

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to comply with the judgment of the Supreme Court in respect of OML112 offshore and stop the deduction of the sum of N502, 298,943.03 or any sum whatsoever, forming the proprietary rights of the Rivers State Government.
The presiding Judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, also ordered the defendants to make full refund of the accruable 13 per cent derivation illegally denied the plaintiff from crude oil and gas production within OML 112 and sale from September, 2018 till the determination of the suit; and thereafter.
The judge equally ordered the Attorney General of the Federation, the Accountant General of the Federation and the RMAFC to pay monthly interests at the various commercial rates at no less than 15 per cent per annum on the illegally deducted 13 per cent derivation due to the plaintiff from OML 112 until the liquidation of all outstanding and accruing debt.
Justice Taiwo further restrained the defendants, their agents, assigns, representatives, privies or howsoever called from disregarding the finality of the Supreme Court judgment delivered on March 18, 2011 in Suit No: SC/27/2010, between: Attorney General of Rivers State and Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State & Anor as it relates to the proprietary rights of the plaintiff in respect of OML 112.
The suit was instituted by the Attorney General of Rivers State to challenge the deduction of the sum of N502, 298,943.03 accruing from OML 112 from the statutory allocation of the state by the defendants.

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Biafra: Fresh Questions Over Future Of Campaign

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Just as the recent physical attack on former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu in faraway Germany is trending globally for the bizarre affront it represents, so many questions are raging over the integrity and future of the campaign for the actualisation of the Biafra secessionist agenda. It is no more news that Ekweremadu was ambushed and attacked during his visit to Germany to participate as a guest speaker at a traditional Igbo ‘New Yam’ festival. The trailing reactions not only captured the wide divide between the proponents and the opponents of the ‘Biafra’ agenda across the world. It also betrayed and reinforced a more profound aspect being the unmasked, hysteric xenophobic mindset to which the most ardent proponents of the Biafra agenda subscribe to. Primary among these is the endorsement of the outrage of the assailants by Nnamdi Kanu, the now exiled leader of the IPOB, which is just one of the active groups canvassing for the actualisation of the Biafra dream.
From the now trending video clips of the incident,the aggrieved assailants could be heard lamenting about the killing of their kit and kin in the ‘Operation Python Dance’ military assaults on Iboland, at the peak of the IPOB domestic activism phase. Until that point, the German assault on Ekweremadu could easily have passed as a result of the bereaved lamenting and perhaps, over-reacting over the death of their loved ones at home. However, the intervention of IPOB especially with the claim that responsibility for the attack fell on its members changed the entire narrative. First of all, information in the public domain did not specifically mention that the occasion was organised by IPOB. Hence, the intervention of the organisation by persons later identified as IPOB operatives captures the event as having been hijacked by the IPOB for reasons strange to the organisers. Now, the blame or whatever ascription from the event goes to all Ibos, just as the proverb that when a finger picks up oil, it soon spreads it to all the other fingers.
And this is where the various stakeholders of the Biafra agenda, comprising the Igbo represented by the OhanaezeNdigbo, the Eastern minorities and even the entire country need to take the Ekweremadu attack with appropriate discretion. Whatever circumstances that will instigate members of a political pressure group to leave the shores of its home country and brazenly attack a home government official in public glare and in a foreign country, deserves more than a slap on the wrist. The situation calls for renewed discretion especially by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo which can be credited with the misfortune of living in a hut on which roof a snake has climbed. That is putting it in classical Igbo metaphor.
For anybody especially the leadership of the Ibos to see the situation otherwise, is to indulge in a mis-read of the festering situation, and expose Ndigbo to a future of miasma in the politics of Iboland as well as that between Ndigbo and the rest of the country. IPOB may remain a most divisive factor in the political calculus of the Ndigbo both at home and abroad as has been dramatically demonstrated in the German attack on Ike Ekweremadu, both for now and in the unknown future. And against the backdrop that not all Ibos and even Ohanaeze are members of IPOB, the need for the group to tread with care becomes most acute. Most Ibos simply want to be left alone to pursue their legitimate businesses in which they are already excelling, and do not want to be bothered by a pie in the sky called Biafra. After all, was it not the great novelist, Chinua Achebe who cited the Ibo proverb that all lizards lie on the ground making it difficult to know which one has stomach pain.
As for the Eastern minorities whose youth especially are being enamoured with flashes of paradise in the Biafra dream, all that needs to be said is that they should go and study the history of the previous Biafra, which occurred before they were even born. They will find out not only why it failed, but also why the mainstream of Ibo intelligentsia is not supporting the campaign – at least spiritedly. Fortunately for them, there are still some survivors of that failed exercise who can provide them valuable insights, to lead them aright. On a cautionary basis, let it be stated here that a child found toying with the very strain of mushrooms that killed his or her parents, is asking for nothing better than the very fate that befell the parents.
As structured today, the Nigerian federation cannot be restructured along secessionist lines without elaborate dialogue and negotiations, in place of a full scale war, no matter the grievances of its component ethnic parts. Meanwhile, IPOB has not demonstrated willingness or capacity for negotiations and the rest of the country is not ready for war. Until further notice therefore, Biafra and all it represents remain hanging in the balance.

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