Armed bandits had continued their attacks unabated on villagers in Shiroro Local Government Area, Niger State, yesterday as the death toll increased to 70, with eight more villages affected while the number of displaced persons have also risen to over 1, 000.
The figure from the attacks which started in the wee hours 2 Sunday 9th June, 2019 has risen from the initial 12 people that lost their lives as the bandits were said to have spread their indiscriminate killing spree to more villages.
Our correspondent gathered that apart from the several injured people who were rushed to nearby rural health facilities in Kuta, Erena and Zumba, many of the displaced villagers were taking refuge in seven Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDP) camps around the area.
Information made available to journalists by the Senator representing Niger-East, Senator David Umaru in whose constituency has been a victim of the massacre indicated that no fewer than 19 persons died in the past six days in Kwaki village, 14 in Barden Dawaki village.
Our correspondent also learnt that, 8 persons died in Ajatawyi village, 7 in Gwassa, 5 in Ajayin Bataro, 4 others in Bwailo, 3 in Baton village and 2 reported dead in Giji village, while over 800 herds of cattle belonging to the villagers have been rustled within the same time.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Niger state command, DSP Mohammed Abubakar Dan-Inna said the police could only confirm 12 people so far dead in the attack, adding however that more security personnel have been deployed to the troubled area.
Meanwhile, Senator David Umaru has appealed to President Mohammed Buhari to come to the rescue of his people in Shiroro, Niger East Senatorial district from the rampaging bandits by ordering deployment of more security personnel to the area.
“I am in pains and sorrow over the killing of my people by armed bandits who have taken over our communities in the past few days”.
“It is horrible that over 69 people have been killed and 1000 displaced and yet there is no respite for the good people of my constituency,” adding that it has become apparent that the situation is beyond the capacity of the police”.
According to him, “I am appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to order the military into the area to stop the bandits from further annihilation of my people by the armed bandits who have continued their onslaught unhindered and unabated”.
“I am also calling on the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 1 Div Nigeria Army, Kaduna to deploy more personnel to save the armless villagers from the onslaught of the armed bandits”, Umaru said, as he stressed the need for the State Government to provide adequate logistics to enable the security agencies crush the bandits.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, Kaduna State Chapter, has called on the Federal and Kaduna State Governments including agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of lives on the country’s highways to expedite action to end the needless loss of lives on the Kaduna-Zaria road.
NMA observed that since the commencement of the reconstruction of the road and subsequent blockade and road diversion, it has led to increased road traffic accidents and impacted negatively on the already overstretched accident and emergency services in the hospitals.
Addressing newsman in Kaduna yesterday, State Chairman of the Chapter, Dr. Stephen Akau Kache said, “It is important to note that many travellers along this road suffer untold hardship and are exposed to enormous risks due to the blockade and several diversions on certain sections of the road. This, in turn, has resulted in loss of man-hours and several accidents have occurred with varying degrees of injuries and deaths occurring as a result. The most recent of which happened on Monday, 10th June 2019, in which several people were either injured or lost their lives, including that of Professor Adeola Abosede Orogade from the Department of Paediatric, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria.”
The NMA called on government among others to declare a state of emergency on the Kaduna-Zaria expressway, pointing out that in doing so, they must deploy a joint task force of security operatives on the road to ensure strict adherence to traffic laws.
It added that there is the need to deploy cranes and other equipment at strategic locations along the road that could be used to extract victims who are trapped in vehicles as well as establish emergency medical units in strategic locations along the road.
The association noted that the government should prevail on the contractors to adequately mobilise and complete the road construction.
In the interim, to curb road accidents, NMA suggested that a number of diversions on the road should be minimized to one at a time and by extension, the repair of the road should be done in shorter segments.
“Temporary rumble strips (speed breakers) should be putin place and also on that portion of the road, set up mobile courts to try and prosecute traffic offenders,” NMA advised.
It said, “We believe that the reconstruction of the road is a laudable initiative and all efforts must be put in place to ensure the safety of lives plying the road.”
In another development, the leadership of the Abia State Police Command says it has arrested 15 police personnel under its command for allegedly extorting money from motorists and other members of the public.
The police officers, it was learnt are standing orderly room trial at the command’s Headquarters in Umuahia, the state capital.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Ene Okon who disclosed this in Aba said that the command would not shield any corrupt person within its workforce that is trying to tarnish its good image.
The CP who was reacting to the calls made by some traditional rulers during a Town Hall Meeting in Aba, asking him to call some of his extortionist officers to order, assured that the Nigeria Police does not shield anyone with criminal behaviour.
Okon pointed out that the command is determined to get rid of bad eggs among its personnel, stressing that it was why it declared one Sergeant Collins Akpugo wanted for killing Mr. Christian Onuoha in Umuahia.
He further disclosed that a reward of N500, 000 will be given to whoever has information on his whereabout.
Okon, who maintained that bail is free, however, urged the members of the public to resist the urge of giving money to any officer who tries to extort them, stressing that every citizen ought to know his right and stand on it.
“We are the only organization that when you err, we punish. All of you must have heard about a policeman that shot somebody and killed him on the 4th of June in Afara Umuahia?
“After killing, he ran away and disappeared. We have declared him wanted and we have placed N500,000 on his head. Anybody that will give us information on his arrest collects N500,000 cash from me,” the CP said.
Speaking on bribery and extortion by police officers, Okon said “It takes two to tangle. If you don’t give, the police will not take. It starts with you. If you know that you’ve not done anything wrong, if you know that you’re operating your joint according to rules, if a policeman comes, you prove to him that you know you’re right.
“I don’t know that policeman that will not be afraid to even tell you to bring knowing that you know your right. Insist that you know your right. Let me be very frank to you, I am not supporting police collecting any money.
“As I’m talking to you, I have 15 policemen in my cell. 7 were arrested here at Opobo Junction when I heard the information that they were collecting money. I sent out my monitoring unit and my monitoring unit went there and met them in the act and arrested them.
“I subjected them to investigation and we have completed investigation and they’re undergoing ‘orderly room trials’. Let God be with them if they’ll escape. At the end of the day, they’ll turn to civilians and be giving money too and see how painful it is.
“I have monitoring unit. We are not sleeping on it. I don’t like it, but you too must stop giving.
If you don’t give, they’ll not take. Insist on your right. My phone number is here, call me, give me the information and see what will happen.”
RSG Warns Owner Of Proudest Hotel To Stop Blackmailing NCDC
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.
Commissioner for Information and Communications
May 26, 2020
Banigo Felicitates With Justice Wike On Her Birthday
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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